Texas appeals injunction.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has appealed a federal judge's order which essentially stops the state from banning Planned Parenthood clinics from the Women's Health Program.
The law passed last year by the Republican-controlled Legislature forbids state agencies from providing funds to an organization affiliated with abortion providers.
The judge ruled there is sufficient evidence the law is unconstitutional, and issued an injunction against enforcing it until he can hear full arguments.
"The idea that somehow the federal government ought to tell Texas, and the governor of Texas, and the Legislature of Texas how it ought to run its own health care plan for women, is outrageous," says Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser.
"Now the courts have said Governor Perry, we won't even let you run your own program without our money, we're going to fight you in the court so that we can force abortion services down the throats of you and all citizens of Texas," she says.
Eight Planned Parenthood clinics that do not provide abortions sued the state, saying the law unconstitutionally restricts their freedom of speech and association.
"Planned Parenthood has a separate financial and legal corporation that provides abortion care," says the agency's Gulf Coast spokeswoman Rochelle Tafolla. "Its completely separate from the services we provide through the Women's Health Program, and they were trying to penalize Planned Parenthood simply because we also provide women with abortion care."
"We have been fighting back these attacks and trying to make sure that women have access to affordable basic health care since last January when the legislative session began," says Tafolla. "We're just so grateful that the judge ruled what we do is constitutional."
Houston Democratic Senator Rodney Ellis released a statement saying he hopes the judge's ruling "forces the Texas leadership to stop their damaging and dangerous attack on women's health."
If forced to include Planned Parenthood, state officials have threatened to shut down the program which serves basic health care and contraception to 130,000 poor women.
Governor Perry's office issued its own statement saying: “Texas has a long history of protecting life, and we are confident in Attorney General Abbott’s appeal to defend the will of Texans and our state law, which prohibits taxpayer funds from supporting abortion providers and affiliates in the Women’s Health Program. We will continue to work with the Attorney General to pursue all available legal options.”