Planned Parenthood Funding Violates Texas Policy, State Says

Planned Parenthood clinics that “promote” abortion violate Texas policy and have no right to public funding, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said in a filing yesterday with the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

Texas is appealing a court order that temporarily requires the state to keep subsidizing the clinics. The state had planned to stop the funding this month.

“Texas has adopted a strong public policy preventing taxpayer funds from subsidizing the provision or promotion of elective abortion,” Abbott said in the appellate filing. “The Constitution permits the government to convey its chosen message without funding those who would undermine that message.”

Planned Parenthood-affiliated groups sued Texas last month to block a regulation that would prevent the state from contracting with entities affiliated with abortion providers. It was designed to exclude operators of 49 health centers from a state-funded program that provides health care to thousands of low-income women.

A federal judge in Austin issued an injunction preventing Texas from cutting off public funds while the court challenge is pending. The New Orleans appellate court will hear arguments on the preliminary injunction on June 7.

State Ban

The case pits Texas Governor Rick Perry, a Republican, against President Barack Obama, a Democrat. Perry pledged earlier this year to replace almost $30 million in federal funds for a women’s health program that the Obama administration cut off because of the state ban on abortion providers. Obama has said Texas can’t block federally approved organizations such as Planned Parenthood from participating in programs underwritten by Medicaid, which pays for health services for the poor.

Abbott asked the appeals court to require Planned Parenthood to post a “sufficient” bond against the almost $1 million-per-month in taxpayer funds the clinics will receive if the injunction is upheld.

The district court case is Planned Parenthood of Hidalgo County Texas v. Suehs, 12-00322, U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas (Austin). The appeals court case is Planned Parenthood of Hidalgo County Texas v. Suehs, 12-50377, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (New Orleans).

To contact the reporter on this story: Laurel Brubaker Calkins in Houston at laurel@calkins.us.com.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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