by Maria Vitale Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
March 17, 2005
Austin, TX(LifeNews.com) — Planned Parenthood and other abortion operations could lose government funding, following a decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The appellate court has ordered an Austin federal judge to take a second look at an injunction he issued in 2003. If the injunction is eliminated, the state could withdraw federal funding from abortion facilities, as long as they can build independent “affiliates” providing other services.
“We are cautiously optimistic about the news,” said Helen Posvar, President of the Houston Coalition for Life. “We are thankful for the court’s efforts to uphold the Texas legislative measure to withdraw tax dollars from abortion providers and are hopeful that Judge (Sam) Sparks will rule in favor of the Texas legislature and the people of Texas."
However, if the abortion facilities can prove that building affiliate clinics is too burdensome and harms their operations, the injunction will continue and the government funding will not be eliminated.
"If a Planned Parenthood affiliate tries to fight this decision, it raises the question, ‘Is Planned Parenthood using government funding, our tax dollars, to underwrite their abortion business?’" said Marilisa Carney, acting executive director for the Coalition for Life in Bryan/College Station.
"It will certainly be interesting to see Planned Parenthood’s reaction to the possibility of losing millions of dollars in federal funds. If Planned Parenthood is truly about choice, as they claim, they will respect the wishes of the citizens of Texas and not fight the dissolution of the injunction," Carney added.
Until the injunction is dissolved, the state health department said it would honor the injunction and give federal funds to Planned Parenthood.
The appeals court stated, “While creating affiliates might entail some time and expense, and might not be the most convenient arrangement, this extra effort alone would not" make the Texas law unconstitutional.
The state legislature approved the measure in 2003 as part of an appropriations act. The law calls for withholding federal money for services such as breast exams and Pap tests from abortion facilities or operations that contract with abortion facilities.
Six Planned Parenthood centers sued, saying the law was unconstitutional.