Planned Parenthood ruling stirs up controversy

Published On: Aug 22 2012 05:31:13 PM CDT   Updated On: Aug 22 2012 05:32:42 PM CDT
Planned Parenthood
HOUSTON -

A new ruling on the battle over funding over Planned Parenthood in Texas has both sides of the issue speaking out.

An appeals court ruled that Texas will be allowed to ban state funding, pending an upcoming trial.

Officials with Planned Parenthood said they're still planning their next move after the appeals court ruled that the state can cut off funding for the women's health program.

Officials said thousands of Texans use the women's health program for medical care. About half of them come to the Planned Parenthood facility off the Gulf Freeway in Houston.

"We just can't believe that the state would come between low-income women getting basic health care," said Rochelle Tafolla of Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood stands to lose millions of dollars, which means it could have a difficult time helping uninsured women enrolled in the program.

The fight over funding began in March when Gov. Rick Perry announced the state would not accept federal money and would take over the women's health program so it could exclude abortion providers, like Planned Parenthood.

"Planned Parenthood health centers that participate in the program do not provide abortion. They provide preventative health care, well-woman exams, breast cancer, cervical cancer screenings and birth control," Tafolla said.

The state said it would implement the ban right away. That's welcome news to many of the protestors who lined the clinic's sidewalk.

"We don't want our tax dollars going to women's health care facilities when their primary service is abortion. The state should encourage women to go to other facilities," said David Allen, a pro-life advocate.

Allen said even if Planned Parenthood doesn't provide abortions as part of the women's health program, the state should encourage women to go to other facilities.

"There are 1,200 other clinics in Texas that provide women's health service. There are 32 here in the Houston area that provide real health care," said Allen.

"Unfortunately, the politicians are focused on abortion and are willing to risk women's health care," said Tafolla.

A judge in Austin is still weighing another lawsuit on this issue and is expected to make a decision in October.

In a statement, Perry called the court's ruling a "win for Texas women, our rule of law and our state's priority to protect life."