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Monday, December 31, 2012 - 8:36pm
A Texas judge denied a Planned Parenthood request for a temporary restraining order Monday that would have extended the organization's ability to participate in the state's revamped Women's Health Program.
A law going into effect Tuesday requires the state to fully fund women's health clinics with the exception of those that are affiliated with abortion providers. Previously, such establishments obtained 90% of their money through the Social Security Administration and other federal funding.
Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions at some of its clinics, and fellow plaintiff Marcela Balquinta of McAllen, Texas, had filed the request for a temporary restraining order seeking exclusion from the new law, arguing the organization provides preventative women's health care not associated with abortions to nearly 50,000 Texas enrollees annually.
"I have denied the request for a temporary restraining order at this time," Judge Gary Harger said. "I did not find that there would be an irreparable harm in waiting nine days for the injunction hearing."
A full hearing is scheduled for January 11 before U.S. District Judge Stephen Yelenosky on whether to grant Planned Parenthood a temporary injunction.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry issued a statement welcoming the move.
"Today's ruling finally clears the way for thousands of low-income Texas women to access much-needed care, while at the same time respecting the values and laws of our state," he said. "I applaud all those who stand ready to help these women live healthy lives without sending taxpayer money to abortion providers and their affiliates."
With the temporary restraining order denial, women may not be able to access care through the Texas Women's Health Program at Planned Parenthood clinics, pending the result of the January 11 hearing.
"It is shocking that once again Texas officials are letting politics jeopardize health care access for women," said Ken S. Lambrecht, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas. "This case isn't about Planned Parenthood -- it's about women like Marcy Balquinta who rely on us for basic, preventive health care."
He added, "Regardless of what happens in the courts, Planned Parenthood will be here for our patients. 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 wellbeing."