© Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters
Planned Parenthood members at a Pro-Choice rally in Washington DC.
Planned Parenthood plans further challenges to state's attempts to cut its funding for women's healthcare provision.
Texas can cut off funding to the family planning organization Planned Parenthood's programs for poor women, a judge ruled on Monday. Judge Gary Harger said that the state can exclude otherwise qualified doctors and clinics from receiving state funding if they advocate for abortion rights, attorney general spokeswoman Lauren Bean said.
The state has long banned the use of state funds for abortion, but it had continued to reimburse Planned Parenthood clinics for providing basic healthcare to poor women through the state's Women's Health Program. The program provides check-ups and birth control to 110,000 poor women a year; Planned Parenthood clinics were treating 48,000 of them.
A Planned Parenthood lawsuit to stop the cut will still go forward, but the judge decided on Monday that the ban can go into effect for now.
"We are pleased the court rejected Planned Parenthood's latest attempt to skirt state law," Bean said. "The Texas attorney general's office will continue to defend the Texas legislature's decision to prohibit abortion providers and their affiliates from receiving taxpayer dollars through the Women's Health Program."
Ken Lambrecht, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, said he had brought the lawsuit on behalf of poor women who depend on its clinics.
"It is shocking that once again Texas officials are letting politics jeopardize health care access for women," Lambrecht said. "Our doors remain open today and always to Texas women in need. We only wish Texas politicians shared this commitment to Texas women, their health, and their well-being."