A federal judge rejected Planned Parenthood’s attempt to prevent Oklahoma officials from ending its contract with the women’s health organization to provide food vouchers and counseling to poor mothers in the Tulsa area through its contract under the Women, Infants and Children’s (WIC) program.
U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot ruled Planned Parenthood hadn’t provided sufficient proof its contract was terminated due to the group’s abortion rights advocacy. “Having carefully considered all of the evidence presented by two well-represented parties, the court is persuaded that (Planned Parenthood) has failed to establish that there is a substantial likelihood that it will prevail on the merits of the pivotal issue of whether the termination decision was based on impermissible factors such as the advocacy and other abortion-related activities” Friot wrote held.
State officials gave Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma notice in September that it was terminating the WIC contract due to alleged concerns about how the organization was administering its contract. Planned Parenthood challenged the decision, arguing anti-choice state administrators targeted the contract because of the organization’s support of abortion rights.
According to the Tulsa World News, Planned Parenthood has participated in the Oklahoma Women, Infants and Children program for 18 years and is the largest independent provider of WIC in Tulsa County, providing services to nearly 3,000 women, infants, and children in September 2012. Without this preliminary injunction in place, Planned Parenthood will be forced to stop WIC services on December 31st.