by Corrie MacLaggan
(Reuters) – A federal appeals court declined on Thursday to reconsider a ruling that would allow Texas to withhold funding for women’s healthcare from Planned Parenthood’s clinics because the organization also performs abortions.
Texas Governor Rick Perry said after the order by the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans that the state would immediately stop paying program participants that are affiliates of abortion providers.
“Today’s ruling affirms yet again that in Texas the Women’s Health Program has no obligation to fund Planned Parenthood and other organizations that perform or promote abortion,” the Republican governor said in a statement. “In Texas we choose life, and we will immediately begin defunding all abortion affiliates to honor and uphold that choice.”
A three-judge panel of the appeals court ruled in August that Texas may exclude groups affiliated with abortion providers from the Women’s Health Program, which provides cancer screenings, birth control and other health services to more than 100,000 low-income Texas women.
In a filing with the court in September, Planned Parenthood asked the full court to rehear the matter, saying the rule violates its First Amendment rights to speech and association.