Texas loses ruling on women’s care
U.S. District Judge Walter Smith’s ruling won’t affect the state’s decision to move forward next year with an entirely state-funded program, even though the state was also seeking to keep its federal funding, said Stephanie Goodman, a spokeswoman for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. But Planned Parenthood, which serves more than 40 percent of the low-income women in Texas’ program, questioned whether the state’s efforts would be effective without federal funding or its clinics.
State lawmakers have banned any clinic affiliated with abortion providers from taking part in the Women’s Health Program, which covers cancer screenings and other services for an estimated 130,000 low-income women. In response, federal authorities announced they would cut off funding, which pays for 90 percent of the family planning costs and half of the administrative costs.
Smith denied a state request for a preliminary injunction to force U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to keep the funding in place. Without an injunction, federal funding is expected to expire Dec. 31.
Texas officials say they have created an entirely statefunded program, and starting Jan. 1, it will provide the same services but exclude Planned Parenthood, Goodman said. The program is estimated to cost $40 million a year.
Matt Naylor of Austin makes music during the annual Tuba Christmas performance held on the south steps of the state Capitol in Austin on Friday. See more photos from Merry Tuba Christmas Austin online at