Planned Parenthood has not given up the fight to be included in a federally-funded healthcare program from which it was banned last year by the Texas legislature.
Nine Texas Planned Parenthood affiliates filed a lawsuit in a federal district court Wednesday, asking Judge Lee Yeakel to block a rule that excludes abortion committers and affiliates from participation in the Women's Health Program, a program that provides preventative care to low-income women.
Elizabeth Graham, Director of Texas Right to Life, said the lawsuit is driven by Planned Parenthood’s desperation to keep its hands in the pockets of taxpayers. “The Legislature directed a large portion of so-called family planning funds away from the abortion industry last session, and also passed other Pro-Life funding measures. Planned Parenthood will stop at nothing to force its agenda on taxpayers and on low income women,” she said.
Indeed, Planned Parenthood is scrambling for funds after receiving a $64.2 million hit during the 82nd Texas legislative session last year, when abortion businesses were pushed down to the bottom of the list for receiving state family planning funds. As a result, Planned Parenthood was forced to close 13 abortion-referring centers across the state.
Legislators also formally excluded abortion providers and affiliates from participation in the Women’s Health Program last year, which will deal Planned Parenthood an additional $13 million blow. Planned Parenthood admitted in its lawsuit that if this $13 million is redirected to other clinics, the organization will be forced to close even more centers.
Planned Parenthood alleges in the suit that its exclusion from the program will harm low-income Texan women by decreasing patient access to healthcare. However, Governor Perry's office has already identified 2,500 other eligible providers with 4,600 locations across the state. By comparison, there are only 69 Planned Parenthood facilities in Texas.
By Planned Parenthood's own admission, the abortion business previously consumed a disproportionate amount of the Women’s Health Program budget, about 40 percent. If this $13 million, previously hoarded by Planned Parenthood, is redirected to other, better-qualified clinics, patient access to care will actually increase, not decrease.
Texan women will not be harmed by this rule, but rather Planned Parenthood’s profit and abortion agenda. Planned Parenthood complains in its lawsuit that, under the current rule, Texas Planned Parenthood affiliates would have to “completely disassociate themselves” from abortion in order to keep seeing low-income women under the Women’s Health Program.
Elizabeth Graham said she hopes Planned Parenthood will cease the abortion business.
“The state is never required to include abortion providers in any of its contracts,” explained Graham. “State officials have determined that the maximum value for the state’s limited health care dollars is achieved by directing Women’s Health Program funds to agencies that serve a larger population with more services. Not only that, but Texans should not have to enable abortion businesses to continue operation with their tax dollars.”