Planned Parenthood Sues Over Unfair Exclusion from Texas Women's Health Program

After Texas governor Rick Perry opted to scrap the state's entire women's health program rather than provide any funding to Planned Parenthood, the health care provider is suing, claiming that the state's practices are discriminatory violations of the organization's right to free speech. Although thousands of bumper stickers, tee shirts, and beer koozies warn against it, Planned Parenthood is messing with Texas.

The fuckery began when the state government signed into law a measure designed to specifically exclude Planned Parenthood from the state's Women's Health Program. The federal government, which provided 90% of the funding for the $33 million program, balked at the rule, saying that Texas didn't have the right to explicitly exclude Planned Parenthood on the grounds that some clinics provide abortions. Leatherface Texas governor Rick Perry put his arms firmly akimbo and said that the feds weren't the boss of him and that he can do whatever he wants with their money. As in most cases when "states' rights" are invoked, the governor wanted the freedom to be a dick to his citizens. The feds said no dice, leaving the Texas Women's Health Program only 10% funded and effectively — no pun intended — dead. Perry's insisted that he's going to somehow come up with the money from his state's $27 billion in-the-red budget, but hasn't yet explained how.

But here's why Planned Parenthood has a compelling case: in the state of Texas, Planned Parenthood is two separate corporations — one that provides abortion services and one that provides birth control, STD screening, cancer screening, breast care, and other sexual and reproductive health services. Eight separate groups from the latter category have filed suit. Ironically, Planned Parenthood of Texas split in response to legislators' concern that funds for women's health could be supporting abortion services, or freeing up funds to support abortion services. Thus, the organization's lawyers claim that denying Planned Parenthood funds for the non-abortion services they provide is akin to discriminating against the organization simply because they're vocal advocates of abortion rights. The lawsuit calls this an "unconstitutional condition on their participation" in the Program.

The lawsuit seeks to permanently block enforcement of the law excluding Planned Parenthood from the Women's Health Program. If their request for injunction is denied, several Planned Parenthood clinics in the state (none of which provide abortions) will lose state and federal funding as of April 30.

I wonder what's happening over in that war on caterpillars.

Planned Parenthood sues to halt exclusion from program [Texas Tribune]