FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – One day after losing in a federal appeals court the Planned Parenthood, Women's Health Program battle continues.
On Thursday the court refused to reconsider their previous ruling that said the state could withhold women's health care funding from the organization. Today Planned Parenthood filed a new lawsuit against the state, claiming the decision by the legislature to cut funding violates state law.
"The federal government gave money to the state and then the state allocated certain amounts of it to do family planning," Planned Parenthood spokesperson Kelly Hart explained. "Then they figured out who their contractors were gonna be, and as a result of what the legislature did no Planned Parenthood affiliate in the state of Texas is a contractor with the government and that's why we're fighting so hard."
Earlier this year state lawmakers cut off funding for Planned Parenthood, which is the largest health care provider in the Texas Women's Health Program. The disassociation was a result of the legislature's new policy to cut funding to organizations that are affiliated with clinics that provide abortions.
Hart said the "affiliated" part of that rule is where the majority of Planned Parenthood clinics fall. "The money that goes to Planned Parenthood, to provide preventive family planning health care services, is not even in any way connected with the funds that we receive for the corporation that provides abortion services for women."
The new lawsuit centers on the contribution of federal money to the Women's Health Program. After the legislature changed the law and enacted the Affiliate Ban Rule Governor Rick Perry said the state would simply fund it's own program, thus turning down federal dollars and the need for federal approval. The state has since changed course and announced that it will need the federal money after all — giving an opening for the new lawsuit.
Soon after the suit was filed Governor Rick Perry released a statement calling the non-profit's latest action "desperate." His complete statement was as follows –
"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."
Planned Parenthood provides services like breast and cervical cancer screenings and birth control to about half of the 130,000 low-income Texas women enrolled in the Women's Health Program.
For now, Hart said Planned Parenthood is still operating fully in Texas. "To my knowledge we are still in the Women's Health Program today. We don't know how much longer that will be."