Planned Parenthood [official website; JURIST news archive] filed a lawsuit [press release] on Friday in Texas court arguing that a rule [Affiliate Ban Rule, PDF] forbidding any clinic affiliated with abortion providers from receiving public funds violates Texas state law. The lawsuit, filed in Travis County Court [official website], claims that a state law that denies funding to any organization participating in the state's Women's Health Program [official website] that performs abortions contradicts a provision in Texas's Human Resources Code [Chapter 32, text]. Planned Parenthood contends [YNN report] that Chapter 32 does not authorize the Texas legislature to adopt the Affiliate Ban Rule because the federal government did not previously approve the Rule. In the press release, Planned Parenthood warned of the negative consequences that the Affiliate Ban Rule would have on women in Texas seeking health care:
If Planned Parenthood is banned from the Women's Health Program, it will jeopardize health care access for tens of thousands of Texas women. Research demonstrates community health centers would have to greatly expand their in order to offset the loss of Planned Parenthood from the program, which research shows is nearly impossible after cuts to women's health enacted in 2011.Texas Governor Rick Perry [official profile] announced [statement] that the state would ultimately prevail against Planned Parenthood's legal challenge. The Affiliate Ban Rule is scheduled to take effect on November 1.
This is the latest development in the ongoing reproductive rights controversy [JURIST backgrounder] in the US. On Thursday the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit declined to reconsider its August decision to allow Texas to defund Planned Parenthood [JURIST reports]. The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on Tuesday upheld an injunction [JURIST report] against an Indiana law that would block Medicaid funding for abortion providers. Last week a federal judge blocked a similar bill [JURIST report] that would have defunded Planned Parenthood in Arizona. In August the Fifth Circuit upheld Louisiana's Act 490, which allows the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) to revoke an abortion clinic's license [JURIST report] immediately after a regulation violation, rather than allowing the abortion clinic time to comply with the regulation. That same month, a Kansas judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit [JURIST report] challenging the state's new abortion clinic regulations after state officials asked that they be upheld without a trial. In July a federal judge blocked a Mississippi law [JURIST report] that would have effectively shut down the state's only abortion clinic.