Texas Will "Immediately" Defund Planned Parenthood After Court Refuses to Hear its Plea [Updated]

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That faint popping sound you heard last night was Governor Rick Perry uncorking a nice bottle of bubbly, after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday refused a request by Planned Parenthood to rehear the case over its ban from the new Texas Women's Health Program (TWHP). Texas, it appears, has officially won its quest to keep Planned Parenthood clinics from receiving state funding, under the logic that the clinics are "abortion affiliates."

See also: Appeals Court Says Planned Parenthood Can Be Banned

Within minutes of the ruling, Perry issued a statement praising the court's decision.

"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," he said. "In Texas we choose life, and we will immediately begin defunding all abortion affiliates to honor and uphold that choice."

This latest decision follows a long and tortuous few months of legal ping-pong, after a group of Texas Planned Parenthood clinics sued the state in April to remain in the federal, Medicaid-funded Women's Heath Program. The federal government said earlier this year that it would soon stop funding the WHP, contending that the state couldn't keep Planned Parenthood out without violating Medicaid rules.

Planned Parenthood's clinics served roughly half of the program's 130,000 low-income Texans, with the federal government picking up 90 percent of the bill. The clinics provided contraceptives, cancer screenings, and exactly zero abortions. Planned Parenthood's surgical centers, which do provide abortions, have never received WHP dollars or any other federal funding.

A three-judge panel at the 5th Circuit ruled in August that Planned Parenthood could indeed be booted from the program. PP was asking to have the case heard again by all the 5th Circuit judges (known as an en banc hearing), which is the request that was denied yesterday.

Technically the case isn't yet closed: It's still open in the lower court where it originated, the U.S. District Court in Austin. A trial in district court was set for this month, but was postponed until this appellate ruling could be reached. The case could revert back there, or Planned Parenthood could appeal to the Supreme Court, according to Reuters.

But with this ruling in place, state officials said, they can begin funding their new state program on November 1, without paying for services performed at Planned Parenthood's clinics. Health and Human Services executive commissioner Kyle Janek said in his own statement that state health officials have "increased the number of doctors and clinics in the program, and we'll be ready to help any woman who needs to find a new provider."

Janek adds that the ruling "makes it clear that we can enforce state law and get federal funding for the Women's Health Program, and we're going to push for that."

He may want to tell Rick Perry about that plan. The Governor previously vowed not to accept Medicaid expansion money to pay for the WHP.

In other words: the state is now trying for a scenario in which it will both be allowed to exclude Planned Parenthood and receive federal funds. The technical term for this is "chutzpah."

Ken Lambrecht, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, also released a statement yesterday, one that offered few clues as to how the non-profit will proceed.

"Planned Parenthood has been in Texas for more than 75 years, and we're not going anywhere," he said. "We are here for the patients who rely on us and we will continue to evaluate every possible option to protect the health of our patients."

Update, 2:15 p.m.: We didn't have to wait long for Planned Parenthood's next move. The nonprofit sent out a press release about an hour ago, announcing that they have filed a lawsuit in state court, claiming that the ban on "abortion affiliates" keeping them from the TWHP is invalid under state law.

PP's lawyers argue that the affiliate ban is invalid under Chapter 32 of the Texas Human Resources Code, "which authorizes the Women's Health Program subject to approval from the federal government," the press release states. "This chapter makes any provision 'inoperative' if it causes Texas to lose federal matching funds for the Women's Health Program. HHSC was not authorized by the Texas legislature to adopt the Affiliate Ban Rule because it makes the Women's Health Program ineligible for federal funding."

Update 2, 5:30 p.m.: On a conference call with reporters this afternoon, representatives from Planned Parenthood and their attorneys announced that Judge Amy Clark Meachum of the 201st Judicial Civil District Court in Travis County has granted PP a temporary restraining order. They will be able to remain in the Women's Health Program until at least November 8, when their next court date is scheduled.

What's still not quite clear is who's actually going to be footing the bill for the program on November 1. Right now, the federal government is still paying for 90 percent of the WHP. But federal Medicaid officials have made it clear that when Texas's new rules banning "abortion affiliates" go into effect, that federal funding will end. Yet Texas's Health and Human Services Commission seems confident that the state will somehow be able to begin enforcing the new ban yet still be able to receive federal funds.

Rick Perry released a statement responding to PP's newest lawsuit. It reads, in full:

If there was ever any doubt that Planned Parenthood is more concerned about its own interests than those of Texas women, there is no longer. Having lost on its constitutional claims, Planned Parenthood has now turned to Travis County judges in a desperate effort to find some way to keep making money off Texas taxpayers. In Texas, we've chosen to protect innocent life. We will keep fighting for life, and we will ultimately prevail.

"We are in court to stand up for the health of more than 100,000 women in the Women's Health Program," reads a statement sent out by Kenneth Lambrecht, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas. "We will do everything possible to protect the health of women and families in Texas."

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134 comments
sophee
sophee

How many babies has Perry adopted to back up his beliefs?

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

"Pro-lifers":

 

Love to start wars.

 

Love to execute people.

 

Love to gun down helpless animals.

 

Love to see poor people get sick and die.

MisterMean
MisterMean

Anna Merlin- I noted in the news that the state of Indiana was prevented from their actions against Planned Parenthood.   How does Texas get away with this (in other words-how are they different-seems the same to me).  Any insights?

Regards

Mister Mean

Rae Scientist
Rae Scientist

Depressing, and not representative of Texas as I know and love it.

Layón M. Robinson
Layón M. Robinson

Justin stfu! So what if your wife got raped and the rapist got her pregnant? WTF are you going to do/say then?! Keep your ignorance to yourself! As a woman even though I decided to be mother I still have many friends that had abortions. Does it make them a bad person? Of course not but, don't sit your narrow minded ass there as if you know what you're talking about because you don't have a CLUE you're not a WOMAN!!!! People make fun of kids that get pregnant at 16 and are disgusted that they're shows of it. Not only do we have to talk to our children to wait until their adults to have sex but we need awareness by having birth control and screenings to those that are scared to tell their parents their thinking about sex and to those that can't afford to go to the doctor. What I find baffling is that the GOP's want healthcare to cover Viagra and male enhancements but as we a woman who has to carry a load for 9 mths where YOU came out her private area you expect us to yeild and not be concerned when MEN are telling us what to do w/ our bodies?! This isn't the 1950's. please rethink what you said because ANYTHING is possible. If your wife got pregnant by a rapist would you still father the child? Please don't bullsh*t yourself because we ALL know what your REAL answer will be. Wake up!

Ashly Schilling
Ashly Schilling

Justin Glasgow, You are advocating that low income families that either do not have insurance go to physicians/hospitals that can not accommodate them the way WHP-providers can. What you are suggesting is that these families incur expenses that they can not afford, which ultimately you and I pay for. You are also showing a profound ignorant bias against Planned Parenthood. The clinics in question do not provide surgical services (including abortion). This measure restricts low income families in that they will no longer be able to obtain treatment from their preferred physician, will no longer have convenient locations/hours to choose from and may actually go without preventive care - which in turn could potentially cost all of us more. So, I understand your crusade to crucify "abortionists", but the issue here isn't abortion. It's about being poor and being denied basic healthcare.

Being Meg
Being Meg

why can't we support motherhood? why do we have to support abortion industries instead? why not help pay for single moms and their children's other health needs like pre-natal care, after-care, etc.? How is this against women? I am feminist, but really love motherhood and don't see why we want to keep coercing women not to have their children. Why not give them all the support they need. Push our government and people to give them the support they need instead of aborting them.

Justin Glasgow
Justin Glasgow

Advocates of Planned Parenthood act like women can't go anywhere else to do routine health screenings. Sorry, but are there not any doctors' offices or hospitals around?

nancy.wilson
nancy.wilson

Sad day in Texas for all women...I'm quite sure Rick Perry would not like me telling him what he and the rest of his idiot friends can do with their bodies.  Back to the dark ages for women in Texas.

Edward
Edward

"In Texas we choose life...."

 

Except for the women who will die due to lack of adequate health care. And of course the obvious resulting increase in unsafe "back alley" abortions.

 

And don't forget the young girls who will now be having babies, or "God's Gifts".

 

The result will be ALL of us paying a LOT more in emergency rooms costs because that's where people end up when their other healthcare options are eliminated.

 

The vitriol spewed forth by so-called Christians toward Planned Parenthood (and also the women who are clients) is shocking, but sadly not very surprising.

 

The Republican Party in Texas seems hell-bent on increasing unwanted pregnancies (they are against sex education and access to birth control) while at the same time cutting back on healthcare for children, education for children, etc.

 

It has really become sad for Texas.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

"If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.". --Todd Akin, republican candidate (MO) for the US Senate.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

What do you expect from the republicans, who claim God wants women to be raped?

MisterMean
MisterMean

Well I guess it is time for my check to Planned Parenthood.  Can't let the Tal-i-ban Repub-lians get away with this crap.  

Carlos Roberto Garza
Carlos Roberto Garza

I moved back to Texas to help family from the civic state of Iowa, but let me tell you...I am so embarrassed with the political status and processes of Texas...it is NOT the Texas I knew from long ago.

Gregory Allen Lester
Gregory Allen Lester

According to the article there are no abortions at these clinics, they screen for cancer. I'm sure there are many women in our wonderful state who do not believe in abortion, but who are just in need of medical assistance and who will now be affected by this negatively. This decision isn't stopping one abortion. It's just hurting the women of Texas.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

It never ceases to amaze me that conservatives seem to place an inordinate amount of value on the lives of *persons* right up until the moment that said *persons* are eligible to carry a weapon in service to conservative military ambitions. 

Justin Glasgow
Justin Glasgow

Everyone who dislikes this is welcome to move to other states where it is far easier to kill off your unborn children. Anyone else see the massive irony of touting the right to kill off innocent unborn children, yet opposing the death penalty for hardened criminals who have made their decisions?

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

the over/under on the increase in pregnancies by young, lower income women in Texas during 2013/2014? 15%? 20%? 25%?

 

the over/under on the increase in the number of elective abortions by these young, lower income women in Texas whose unintended pregnancies resulted from their lack of access to sex counseling/contraceptives due to the defunding of Planned Parenthood clinics? 15%? 20%? 25%?

 

really, these anti-Planned Parenthood zealots are the most idiotic, irrational people ever to occupy an office in the great state of Texas. and looking at their predecessors, that's quite an accomplishment!

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

"In Texas we choose life,..." Perry says right before he dashes back to the office to sign off on a few more lethal injections.

Gregory Allen Lester
Gregory Allen Lester

"The clinics provided contraceptives, cancer screenings, and exactly zero abortions. Planned Parenthood's surgical centers, which do provide abortions, have never received WHP dollars or any other federal funding." So lets punish all women for something that is legal.

Steve Nabors
Steve Nabors

Romney is Mormon, don't think things will get better if he is elected. I've always been republican until recently. it just seems they have all turned into religious fanatics that want to go back to the church ruling everything

roo_ster
roo_ster

The taxpayers pay the costs to be the boss.  Our money, our choice.

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

 @MisterMean That's a good question. I can tell you what I think, but any lawyers who are lurking about should feel free to jump in here too.

 

My understanding is that Indiana was trying to keep receiving Medicaid money. But you can't get federal dollars and not play by federal rules, which is why their ban failed. Yet now that's exactly what Texas is trying to do: get federal funding and keep PP out. That's a new development as of the last week or so. But the state is only free to make up their own rules as long as they're not getting federal money. 

 

So we'll see what happens on November 1: will Texas keep trying to receive Medicaid money? Or will they, as they've promised to do for some time, launch a totally independent WHP that relies solely on state funds? I really don't think  you can have it both ways, which was the lesson in Indiana.

 

Anybody else have a different answer? That's my best understanding of the situation.   

 

 

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

 @Edward 

You had said: "The vitriol spewed forth by so-called Christians toward Planned Parenthood (and also the women who are clients) is shocking, but sadly not very surprising."

 

Please don't include the Dallas Diocese in that group.  Please check out:

 

http://www.catholiccharitiesdallas.org/Pregnant

 

These people put their money where their mouth is.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

 @MisterMean Actually, I'm fine with that.  Just don't stick a gun in my face and tell me I have to give them a check too.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

 @TheCredibleHulk Yawn.  Notice that it's always liberals who are calling for another draft.  Conservatives call for volunteers.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

 @roo_ster

what? did you have the opportunity to cast a vote for or against this ridiculous policy? thought so, I didn't either.

 

it's my money too, and it's not my choice

MisterMean
MisterMean

 @everlastingphelps I will write a check to NARL for you and for Planned Parent hood too.   Maybe set up a fund in your honor. 

winterchill57
winterchill57

 @everlastingphelps  @MisterMean   Phelps you can start writing checks to those fake pregnancy crisis centers that are paid for by the taxpayers.  yea those are clinic,s or fake clinics where right wingers get tax money to scare women into not getting an abortion.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

 @everlastingphelps  @MisterMean What's with the gun imagery?

 

Until somebody *actually* sticks a gun in your face and makes you pay for somebody else's food or medical care, you need to lighten up on that shit.

 

We've got enough hysteria from politicians without this kind of hyperbole from the electorate.

mcdallas
mcdallas topcommenter

 @mavdog  @roo_ster He wasn't talking about the policy. He was talking about the elected officials who enacted it.  

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@MisterMean fine with me. It's just aborting kids who would be raised liberal, after all.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@winterchill57 @MisterMean or, I could skip that since I'm not a moron that slavishly follows a party line. You should try that, it's refreshing.

MisterMean
MisterMean

 @roo_ster  @TheCredibleHulk  @everlastingphelps  I would have to site the conservative tea party showing up at town hall meetings armed to the teeth.   They, as the republican primaries showed us, are the true party of death.   Love the death penalty, love death due to not having health care, love their guns.

roo_ster
roo_ster

 @TheCredibleHulk  @everlastingphelps  @MisterMean Take it form someone who used to carry a gun whilst being paid by Uncle Sam to do all sorts of (in retrospect) foolishly dangerous activities:  Gov't is a gun in your face shouting "COMPLY!" and anything else is window dressing.

 

Since then, I have asked myself the question, "Is this law/regulation/ordinance important enough that I think someone ought to be shot in the face if they don't comply?"

MisterMean
MisterMean

 @TheCredibleHulk I would respectfully point out that our tax dollars (property taxes) do fund health care for the poor.   Hopefully the ACA will make things better.  My premiums only increased 4 dollars per month and I got a rebate almost equal to one months premium (BCBS).  And the Republicans (who came up with the insurance mandate (Heratage Foundation and 2 republican senators) want to distance themselves (or repeal) thier idea (and Mitten's baby in MA). 

 

Checked my past posts and I have not mentioned fire arms.

Mister Mean

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

 @everlastingphelps

 glad to see you recognize that your position is "a stupid fucking argument that only hillbillies and morons make", although I wasn't aware that you're a hillbilly.

 

no one if putting a gun to your head to pay taxes. one pays taxes because it is an obligation of citizens who enjoy and benefit from the protection and services of the state. it's an elective act of being in the community.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

 @mavdog Don't want to live in a place that defunds PP?  Easy, move to where they fund PP.

 

Oh, wait, that's a stupid fucking argument that only hillbillies and morons make.  Never mind.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

 @everlastingphelps  

 

don't want to pay taxes? easy, move where you don't have to pay taxes.

 

no one is going to 'stick a gun in [your] face" and stop you.

roo_ster
roo_ster

 @mavdog  @mcdallas It is that whole "republic" and "representative democracy" deal.  It does not translate directly from popular sentiment to action, but that is a feature, not a bug, when the state & national constitutions are obeyed.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

 @mcdallas  @roo_ster

odd, the the words "elected officials" are not in the post. not even the word "they" in posible reference to an "elected official".

 

there's "taxpayers", and "our", but nothing about "elected officials".

 

maybe your mind reader is on the fritz...

 

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