Court Ruling Could Cut Taxpayer Funds for Texas Abortion Clinics

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:05 PM EDT

( - A pro-life group in Texas said it is "cautiously optimistic" about a federal court ruling that could stop government funding for Texas abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood.

Two years ago, the Texas Legislature passed a measure withholding taxpayer money from clinics that perform abortions and other health services.

State health officials argued that abortion clinics could create "affiliates" -- separate clinics that would still accept federal funds for health services other than abortion.

But a federal judge said the Texas law did not allow for the creation of those affiliates, so he issued an injunction blocking the law.

Last week, a federal appeals court disagreed. The appeals court told the lower-court judge to dissolve the injunction and "revisit" the case.

If the injunction is dissolved, the state would be able to withdraw taxpayer funding from clinics that provide abortion services, as long as those clinics are able to build independent "affiliates" that provide other, non-abortion health services.

Helen Posvar, president of the Houston Coalition for Life, said her group is thankful for the appeals court's efforts to uphold state law.

But, she warned, "If abortion providers can prove that building affiliate clinics is too burdensome and hinders their operations, the injunction will hold and government funding will not be withdrawn."

Marilisa Carney of the Coalition for Life in Bryan/College Station stated, "If a Planned Parenthood affiliate tries to fight this decision, it raises the question, 'Is Planned Parenthood using government funding, our tax dollars, to underwrite their abortion business?'

"It will certainly be interesting to see Planned Parenthood's reaction to the possibility of losing millions of dollars in federal funds. If Planned Parenthood is truly about choice, as they claim, they will respect the wishes of the citizens of Texas and not fight the dissolution of the injunction."

The Coalition for Life was formed in 1998 when Planned Parenthood announced plans to build the first abortion clinic in the history of the Brazos Valley. The Houston Coalition for Life represents dozens of churches and thousands of pro-life individuals.

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