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Victory for Commonsense in Texas as Abortion Providers Blocked from Receiving Taxpayer Dollars

Commonsense—the kind of commonsense that tells you that an abortion business benefits and grows when it receives taxpayer funding—scored a victory in Texas on Monday, when a state court refused to force Planned Parenthood’s participation in a taxpayer funded state healthcare program.  Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas had petitioned a Travis County (Austin) court to prevent their exclusion from the Texas Women’s Health Program (WHP).  The court refused, and a full hearing on the matter will occur later this month.

The Texas WHP pays healthcare providers to provide various healthcare services, including counseling about contraceptives, to women who meet certain criteria.[1]  It also prohibits state officials from contracting with “entities that perform or promote elective abortions or are affiliates of entities that perform or promote elective abortions.”[2] In 2011, the Texas legislature reauthorized the law and drafted applicable regulations.[3]   Because the state now requires recipients of WHP funds to certify their compliance with the new regulations—and Planned Parenthood affiliates cannot legitimately provide such certification— the affiliates  sued the state, first in federal court. 

In Planned Parenthood v. Suehs,[4] however, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals removed a preliminary injunction (issued by a lower court) against the law and regulations.  Undeterred, Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas turned to state court as a potential means to continue lining their pockets with taxpayer funds

Clearly, they are not getting the message.

The State of Texas and the citizens of Texas do not want abortion providers bankrolling their businesses with taxpayer dollars under the guise of providing healthcare to women. Fundamentally, Planned Parenthood Federation of America encourages abortion as a means of “planning” a family.  Planned Parenthood tells women that the question “Am I ready to become a parent?” is first among the questions they should ask when considering an abortion.[5] Other questions Planned Parenthood proposes that indicate that it considers abortion as a legitimate means of “family planning” include: “Would I prefer to have a child at another time?” and “What would it mean for … my family’s future if I had a child now?”[6] 

Notably, Abby Johnson, former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan, Texas, has said, “As clinic director, I saw how money received by Planned Parenthood affiliate clinics all went into one pot at the end of the day—it isn’t divvied up and directed to specific services.”[7]

The State of Texas has worked hard over the last few years to prevent taxpayer dollars from enriching Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.  In 2013, we expect more states to follow Texas’ example by enacting similar restrictions on taxpayer funding for abortion providers.


[1] The WHP program was initially heavily funded by the federal government; however, the federal government will not continue to fund the program under the new state regulations.  In response, the State of Texas, under the leadership of Governor Rick Perry, decided to make the program entirely state-funded.

[2] § 1(h), 2005 Tex. Gen. Laws at 2818. 

[3] 1 Tex. Admin, Code  354.1363(a). 

[4] 5th- 12-50377 (5th Cir., Aug. 21, 2012).

[5] See Planned Parenthood Fed’n of Am., Thinking About Abortion, available at http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/pregnancy/thinking-about-abortion-21519.htm (last visited Dec. 21, 2012)

[6] Id.

[7] See, e.g., Johnson, Opinion: Defund Planned Parenthood, AOL News (Mar. 8, 2011), available at http://www.aolnews.com/2011/03/08/opinion-defund-planned-parenthood/ (last visited Dec. 21, 2012).