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Elections & Politics

Federal Appeals Court Allows Texas to Block Women’s Access to Health Care

Contact: Planned Parenthood Action Fund Media Office, 212-261-4433

For Immediate Release: 08.21.12

Planned Parenthood Action Fund: “These Doors Will Stay Open”

Statement from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund
 
New York — Today, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the state of Texas can deny women access to preventive health care, despite the desperate need of thousands of uninsured Texan women for basic preventive care. The court lifted an injunction that had barred Texas from enforcing its ban against Planned Parenthood health centers’ participation in the Women’s Health Program.
Following is a statement from Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
 
“We are evaluating every possible option to protect women’s health in Texas. This case has never been about Planned Parenthood — it's about the women who rely on Planned Parenthood for cancer screenings, birth control, and well-woman exams.
 
“It is shocking that politics would get in the way of women receiving access to basic health care.  Governor Perry has already thrown 160,000 women off of health care for partisan political reasons — now there will be more to come. Today’s ruling puts the health of an additional 52,000 women in jeopardy. 
 
“For nearly 100 years, women and families have trusted Planned Parenthood for high-quality, affordable health care and information. We won't let politics interfere with the health care that nearly three million people a year rely on Planned Parenthood for in Texas and around the country. Planned Parenthood health center doors are open today and they’ll be open tomorrow."
 
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Background facts:
 
FACT:  A May 2012 Research Brief from the George Washington University found Texas’s unconstitutional affiliation rule jeopardizes access to health care for nearly 52,000 low- income women. 
 
FACT: The George Washington University report  authors conclude community healthcenters would have to grow their Women’s Health Program participation 12-fold – from fewer than 4,000 WHP patients to nearly 56,000 – to offset the loss of Planned Parenthood from the program. 
 
FACT:  In issuing the injunction, US District Court Judge Lee Yeakel expressed concern about the impact the rule would have for low-income Texas women in need of access to Women's Health Program services, which includes lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, testing and treatment for STDs, breast health services, Pap tests, and sexual health education and information. “[Planned Parnthood] currently provide[s] a critical component of Texas' family-planning services to low-income women," Judge Yeakel wrote. "The court is unconvinced that Texas will be able to find substitute providers for these women in the immediate future."
 
FACT: Currently more than one-quarter of Texan women are uninsured, and women in Texas face one of the highest rates of cervical cancer in the U.S.
 
FACT: Women’s Health Program funds are prohibited by law from paying for abortions.
 
FACT:  Planned Parenthood health centers that participate in the Women’s Health Program are legally and financially separate from Planned Parenthood health centers that provide safe and legal abortions. 

FACT:  The Texas rule to exclude Planned Parenthood from WHP comes after budget cuts passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor Perry last year have dramatically reduced the state’s family planning program by more than two-thirds.  These cuts are projected to take health care away from 160,000 women per year.

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Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.