Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

News

May 6, 2012

Judge: Texas can't cut funds to Planned Parenthood

AUSTIN — A federal appeals court ruled Friday that Texas cannot ban Planned Parenthood from receiving state funds, at least until a lower court has a chance to hear formal arguments.

A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed Friday with a lower court that there's sufficient evidence the state's law preventing Planned Parenthood from participating in the Women's Health Program is unconstitutional. The program provides basic health care and contraception to 130,000 poor women.

District Court Judge Lee Yeakel had issued an injunction keeping Texas from enforcing the law on Tuesday, but Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott appealed to the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans.

On Friday, the court said Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott hadn't shown that Texas would be irreparably harmed by holding off on enforcing the new law until a trial can be held in Austin.

The so-called affiliate rule passed last year by the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature forbids state agencies from providing funds to an organization affiliated with abortion providers, even if all they share is a name. Eight Planned Parenthood clinics that do not provide abortions sued the state. They claimed the law violated their rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association.

"This case isn't about Planned Parenthood; it's about the women who rely on Planned Parenthood for cancer screenings, birth control, and well-woman exams," said Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. "We won't let politics interfere with the health care that nearly 3 million people a year rely on Planned Parenthood for in Texas and around the country."

Catherine Frazier, spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry, said the state would explore all available legal options.

"Today's developments do not change our concerted effort in coordination with Attorney General Abbott to defend the will of Texans and our state law, which prohibits taxpayer funds from supporting abortion providers and affiliates in the Women's Health Program," Frazier said.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said last month that the rule violates federal law. Federal funds paid for 90 percent of the $40 million Women's Health Program until the new rule went into effect, and federal officials are now phasing out support for the program. Perry has promised that Texas will make up for the loss of federal funds to keep the program going without Planned Parenthood's involvement.

State officials have said ending the program would result in more unplanned pregnancies that would cost the state much more than self-financing the program.

However in court papers, Texas Solicitor General Jonathan Mitchell said the state would cut all funds if the federal courts ordered Texas to allow Planned Parenthood to participate in the program.

"State law prohibits Texas from continuing to operate the Texas Women's Program if taxpayer money must be provided to entities that affiliate with abortion-promoting entities," a motion filed by Mitchell said. "Consequently, the district court's preliminary injunction effectively forces Texas to choose between contravening state law and shutting down the program."

1
Text Only
News
  • Alto City Council examines gas line issue

    City leaders have started looking into the process of moving a gas line that runs from Alto through Wells along U.S. Hwy. 69 to meet requirements of TxDOT, which is widening the road through the city.

    July 26, 2014

  • Old Jville Bearden Store.tif Longtime furniture store changes hands

    For the better part of a century, Bearden Furniture Co., Inc., has been the go-to place for local residents wanting to beautify their home.
    Furniture and accessories, carpeting, window treatments – even electronics at one point – were offered at the Commerce Street store, but on July 1, the family who started Bearden's sold the company to Louisiana-based Ivan Smith Furniture company.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Athens woman confesses to killing daughter

    A 25-year-old mother is in the Henderson County Jail after telling authorities that she had killed her four-year-old daughter, Monday
    morning.

    July 24, 2014

  • Bullard: District names Jan Hill as deputy superintendent

    Bullard Independent School District is proud to announce Jan Hill as Deputy Superinten-dent. Hill will assume the new role effective immediately.

    July 24, 2014

  • ‘Christmas in July’ drive benefits area foster children

    Sure, December is still more than five months away, but Cherokee County residents are getting the chance to start spreading some holiday cheer a little early this year during the annual Christmas in July donation drive, benefitting the county's Rainbow Room.

    July 24, 2014

  • RISD board mulls $16M budget

    Local school board members are considering a $16,671,955 proposed general fund budget for Rusk ISD's upcoming fiscal year – which begins Sept. 1 – but are nowhere near close to adopting the budget, said Lesa Jones, assistant district superintendent for finance and operation.

    July 22, 2014

  • National Night Out to return to Jacksonville

    National Night Out ( NNO) festivities will be returning  to Jacksonville this year.
    Jacksonville Police Crime Prevention Officer Detective Tonya Harris said all Jacksonville residents are encouraged to participate this year by sponsoring or attending a National Night Out party on Oct. 7.

    July 22, 2014

  • Bullard group rallies behind alcohol petition

    A petition calling for a city-wide city election this November that would make all areas of Bullard wet, including those which fall in Cherokee County, has proven successful, as more than the required 221 signatures have been collected.

    July 19, 2014

  • mom and kids_6776.tif Jacksonville woman celebrates 100th birthday surrounded by family, friends

    Ethel Terry, a lifelong resident of Jacksonville, celebrated her 100th birthday with an open house on July 15 at the Twin Oaks Care Facility in Jacksonville.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cemetery grass.tif Extra rainfall produces more abundant lawns, extends hay season

    Steady periods of rain this summer have been a homeowner's dream, as lawns appear more lush than in previous years.
    But for city workers, that same growth has taken on nightmarish proportions.
    “It's a maintenance nightmare,” said Ben Briley, director of the City of Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo