A federal judge has ruled that Texas may cut off funding to Planned Parenthood’s family planning program while a trial over the legality of the move pushes ahead.
Judge Gary Harger ruled that the state may exclude otherwise qualified doctors and clinics from receiving state funding simply because they advocate for abortion rights, despite the fact that the state has long since banned the use of any state dollars going toward abortion care.
Approximately 110,000 poor women get their health care through the Texas Women’s Health Program and of them, approximately 48,000 receive their care from Planned Parenthood clinics. Monday’s ruling means those nearly 50,000 women must immediately find new doctors and clinics. Texas health officials insist they are ready to meet the demand, but there’s plenty of reason to believe this will not be the case.
The decision strikes a blow to women’s health advocates but is not the final say. Planned Parenthood maintains the law stripping its funding violates state law and will continue to press its case in a trial scheduled for later this year.