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Planned Parenthood Again Sues Texas to Force Taxpayer Funding

by Steven Ertelt | Austin, TX | LifeNews.com | 12/11/12 7:39 PM

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Not happy that the state of Texas has cut off its taxpayer funding via a state program meant to fund legitimate health care for women, Planned Parenthood is heading back to court.

This time, a Texas Planned Parenthood patient named Marcela “Marcy” Balquinta has filed suit for her and the abortion business and the lawsuit claims Health and Human Services executive director Kyle Janek and the Texas Department of State Health Services do not have the authority to exclude Planned Parenthood.

The lawsuit also argues Texas should not have the ability to cancel the program if it is forced to provide funding for the abortion giant.

The Dallas newspaper has more on the lawsuit:

This is the second state lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood. The first applied to the Medicaid Women’s Health Program, which provides Texas a federal match that pays for 90 percent of the program’s $35 million cost. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is withdrawing funds from the Women’s Health Program on Dec. 31 because it believes it is a woman’s right to choose her provider.

Planned Parenthood also filed a federal lawsuit today, challenging a ruling that allows Texas to exclude it from the state-funded program claiming the ruling places unconstitutional conditions on the provider’s eligibility to participate.

The decision to exclude Planned Parenthood is supported by a law passed by the Texas Legislature in 2011 stating that taxpayer dollars will not be used to fund affiliates of abortion providers.

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Earlier this year, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to grant an additional hearing to Planned Parenthood regarding Texas’ legislation to end taxpayer funding of abortion companies.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry applauded the decision, saying, “Today’s ruling affirms yet again that in Texas the Women’s Health Program has no obligation to fund Planned Parenthood and other organizations that perform or promote abortion. In Texas we choose life, and we will immediately begin defunding all abortion affiliates to honor and uphold that choice.”

Last year the Texas state legislature defunded abortion providers including Planned Parenthood of state-controlled family planning funding. In December 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) sent a letter to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission rejecting Texas’ law by turning down the state’s request to run their own family planning program. In March 2012, HHS officially stopped $30 million in federal funding for Texas’ Women’s Health Program because they excluded Planned Parenthood. Governor Perry pledged to fully fund the program using state dollars.

In August 2012, the Fifth Circuit court overturned the April 2012 ruling of a Texas judge who granted a preliminary injunction to Planned Parenthood affiliates while they sued the state of Texas over the law. Previously, Texas Governor Rick Perry pointed out that Planned Parenthood clinics represent less than two percent of the more than 2,500 enrolled providers.

Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit against Texas contending that the new law prohibiting it from participating in the Women’s Health Program is unconstitutional discrimination. The lawsuit asked the court for an injunction to stop enforcement of the rules preventing Planned Parenthood from getting taxpayer funding via the program , saying the rules violate their rights by putting an “unconstitutional condition on their participation” in the Women’s Health Program.

However, state officials quickly appealed the ruling — with Attorney General Greg Abbott filing an emergency motion for stay in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Jerry E. Smith granted the stay “pending further order of this court.”

In response, President Obama withdrew all federal support for the program, and Planned Parenthood sued the state of Texas. Judge Lee Yeakel blocked the law from going into effect, yet Yeakel’s ruling was appealed by Attorney General Greg Abbott, and the Fifth Circuit Court removed the block.

In addition to these approximately 4,000 agencies, Governor Perry’s office has identified another 2,500 eligible providers with 4,600 locations across the state. Planned Parenthood runs 69 facilities.

Before the lawsuit, the Obama Administration cut off the Women’s Health Care Program (WHP) for over 100,000 Texas women at over 2,400 providers for the sake of Planned Parenthood, which provides only limited health service at 44 facilities in Texas. In response, Governor Rick Perry and state lawmakers found their own funding for it.