Program set to launch Tuesday
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-