AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas can cut off funding to Planned Parenthood’s family planning programs for poor women, a state judge ruled Monday.
Judge Gary Harger said that Texas may exclude otherwise qualified doctors and clinics from receiving state funding if they advocate for abortion rights, attorney general spokeswoman Lauren Bean said.
The state has long banned the use of state funds for abortion, but had continued to reimburse Planned Parenthood clinics for providing basic health care to poor women through the state’s Women’s Health Program. The program provides check-ups and birth control to 110,000 poor women a year, and Planned Parenthood clinics were treating 48,000 of them.
Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit to stop the rule will still go forward, but the judge decided Monday that the ban may go into effect for now. In seeking a temporary restraining order, Planned Parenthood’s patients could have continued to see their current doctors until a final decision was made.
“We are pleased the court rejected Planned Parenthood’s latest attempt to skirt state law,” Bean said. “The Texas Attorney General’s office will continue to defend the Texas Legislature’s decision to prohibit abortion providers and their affiliates from receiving taxpayer dollars through the Women’s Health Program.”