Central Texas Judge Rules Against State In Women’s Healthcare Dispute

By: Paul J. Gately Email
By: Paul J. Gately Email

WACO (December 21, 2012)—U.S. District Judge Walter Smith, Jr. Friday denied a Texas request to prevent the federal Health and Human Services Department from cutting off funding for the Texas Women's Health Program.

Smith denied the state's motion for a preliminary injunction Friday morning in Waco.

Without it, Medicaid funding for the state program that provides cancer screenings and other services to low-income women will likely expire Dec. 31.

A court officer said the issuance of a preliminary injunction in such cases requires that four elements be satisfied and the judge, in his order, said the State of Texas failed to prove up the four points and therefore he denied the motion.

The issue is set for trial before the bench in Smith's court on March 25.

State lawmakers want Planned Parenthood removed from the program and have banned any clinic affiliated with abortion providers from taking part.

Federal officials responded by denying Medicaid funding for the program.

A state health commission spokeswoman said Friday that an entirely state-funded version of the program will go forward without Planned Parenthood at the start of next year.

In the original complaint filed in Smith’s court, the state alleged the Department Of Health and Human Services said it will terminate funding the Texas Women’s Health Program based solely upon the fact that the State of Texas has laws that prohibit taxpayer dollars from being allocated to entities that perform or promote elective abortions.

About 130,000 low-income women receive such services as cancer screenings from the program that is largely funded by Medicaid dollars.

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