Battle Over Women's Healthcare in Texas Changes in a Matter of Hours

By Jen Kastner
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND- In about 24 hours, the battle over women's healthcare in the state has taken an aggressive turn.

On Monday, a federal judge sided with Planned Parenthood. The organization had filed injunction a few weeks ago asking the state to let them continue using federal dollars to fund a program providing basic care to thousands of women in Texas. Governor Perry's office has been trying to take that program away from Planned Parenthood, claiming that money should not be used for clinics that provide abortions or their affiliates.

Planned Parenthood says the governor's pro-life agenda should stay out the discussion for basic healthcare needs.

Carla Holeva with Planned Parenthood of West Texas tells us, "When politics get involved in women's healthcare, women suffer."

Despite Monday's decision to let Planned Parenthood continue using those dollars, a different judge stepped into the game late Monday night and put an emergency stop to that decision.

Holeva says, "We were very disappointed by the actions that took place overnight from the state but we are very optimistic that our injunction will stand."

The emergency stop, for now, is paralyzing Planned Parenthood and similar providers from using those dollars.

Stephanie Goodman with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission says, "Any health clinic or doctor or whatever that provides abortion or affiliates directly with an abortion provider would not be eligible to bill for these services."

Planned Parenthood says Tuesday morning, they woke up to the rude awakening that the program's dollars were frozen, at least for now. So, they're shelling out their own money to keep things running.

Holeva says, "Today, Planned Parenthood is paying for it, so we will have to adjust and address that on the outcome of this."

They say there are roughly 4,000 women throughout Midland and Odessa who have their services provided by the Women's Health Program.

The state says there are hundreds of other clinics besides Planned Parenthood that can provide women with basic services.

Catherine Frazier is the Press Secretary for Governor Perry's Office. She issued NewsWest 9 stating, "Texas has a long history of protecting life, and we are confident in Attorney General Abbott's appeal to defend the will of Texans and our state law, which prohibits taxpayer funds from supporting abortion providers and affiliates."

For now, uncertainty looms over the state.

To find a provider who still has access to the Women's Health Program funds, call 1-(800)-335-8957.