Pro­gram set to launch Tues­day

Health

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - Con­tin­ued from B

The change was nec­es­sary be­cause fed­eral of­fi­cials, declar­ing that state ef­forts to bar Planned Par­ent­hood vi­o­lated U.S. law gov­ern­ing Med­i­caid spend­ing, will cut off fed­eral money on New Year’s Eve — the day Harger plans to is­sue his rul­ing.

Texas plans to launch its state-fi­nanced pro­gram Tues­day with­out Planned Par­ent­hood, which serves about 48,000 women each year, more by far than any other provider.

In Fri­day’s hear­ing, a lawyer for Planned Par­ent­hood asked Harger to is­sue a re­strain­ing or­der bar­ring Texas from ex­clud­ing Planned Par­ent­hood and from shut­ting down the Women’s Health Pro­gram if the or­ga­ni­za­tion pre­vails in court.

State law did not give Texas health of­fi­cials the author­ity to ban the group, lawyer Pete Schenkkan ar­gued, adding that Perry and other GOP of­fi­cials are wrong when they in­sist that Texas law gives them no op­tion but to can­cel the en­tire pro­gram if a court or­ders Planned Par­ent­hood’s in­clu­sion.

“State agen­cies do not have the power to change statutes, nor to ig­nore statutes. Only the legis-

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