A group of eight Planned Parenthood organizations filed a lawsuit against the state of Texas on Wednesday to prevent the state from excluding them from its Women’s Health Program. In March, Governor Rick Perry implemented a rule that excludes affiliates of abortion providers from the Medicaid Women’s Health Program, essentially cutting any government funding to Planned Parenthood. The eight Planned Parenthood organizations who filed the suit do not provide abortion services.

CEO of Planned Parenthood Association of Hidalgo County in South Texas, Patricio Gonzales, told reporters from Reuters that the “worst of all my fears is that these women will forgo life-saving screenings, comprehensive exams, reliable birth control and other vital preventive healthcare services.”

Following the implementation of the funding restrictions, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that the federal government will no longer provide funding through the Medicaid family planning program for the state of Texas. Officials at the Medicaid federal agency said that states are not allowed to restrict patient’s access to particular providers and still receive federal funding.

Reuters 4/11/12; AP 4/11/12; NPR 4/11/12, Feminist Daily News Wire 3/16/12

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