ON TUESDAY, a federal appeals court lifted a preliminary injunction against a measure that excludes Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas from receiving state funds. In March, Gov. Rick Perry (R) announced that his state would rather forfeit $35 million in annual federal funding for the Women’s Health Program — a Medicaid waiver program that provides low-income women with contraceptives and cancer screenings — than see any more state tax dollars go to a supposedly pro-abortion organization. Planned Parenthood appealed, but Texas now has the authority to defund the organization. Bottom line: Hundreds of thousands of poor Texas women are likely to be denied a health-care provider because of their state’s ideological zeal.
The Planned Parenthood clinics enrolled in the Women’s Health Program don’t provide abortions, as state law has long forbidden the allocation of public funds to abortion providers. The state, however, has argued that since the Planned Parenthood brand encompasses other abortion-providing services — even ones that have no legal or financial ties to the clinics concerned — the clinics are ultimately “affiliated” with them and are thus liable to be cut. Never mind the nature of the services they actually provide or the number of women they serve.