A Texas judge denied Planned Parenthood’s request to be included in the state’s new women’s health program on Friday. The program, now known as the Texas Women’s Health Program, provides funding for preventive health care services for low-income women. Previously, the program was a Medicaid program in which the federal government had provided 90% of the program’s budget. According to Reuters, federal funding was withdrawn at the end of 2012 because the state decided to enforce a law preventing this type of funding for abortion providers and their affiliates. A nearly identical state funded program was launched January 1.
In the ruling, Judge Stephen Yelenosky wrote “If, as plaintiffs argue, a successor program must be Medicaid-funded then the only legal remedy would be for this court to shut down the state-funded women’s health program, not to order the inclusion of Planned Parenthood,” reported CNN.
Regina Rogoff, Executive Director of the People’s Community Clinic in Austin did not have her funding cut by the program because her clinic is an independent family planning clinic that does not provide abortions. However, Rogoff told ABC, “The idea the state is putting a gag order on what physicians can say to a patient is just offensive…We are sorely tempted to entirely withdraw from this program to avoid giving the appearance that we support it.” Rogoff was referring to the fact that Texas has been targeting any clinic that may assist a patient in setting up an appointment or making any arrangements for the patient to obtain abortion services.