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Judge: Texas can cut Planned Parenthood

AUSTIN, Texas, Dec. 31 (UPI) --
Planned Parenthood can be excluded from Texas' Women's Health Program when it launches Tuesday, a judge ruled Monday.



State Judge Gary Harger denied Planned Parenthood's request for a temporary restraining order that would have kept the organization in the program, which provides contraceptive and preventive healthcare to low-income women, the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman reported.



"We are pleased the court rejected Planned Parenthood's latest attempt to skirt state law," said Lauren Bean, a spokeswoman for Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. "The Texas Attorney General's office will continue to defend the Texas Legislature's decision to prohibit abortion providers and their affiliates from receiving taxpayer dollars through the Women's Health Program."



Ken Lambrecht, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, said the decision was disappointing.



"It is shocking that once again Texas officials are letting politics jeopardize healthcare access for women," Lambrecht said. "This case isn't about Planned Parenthood; it's about women ... who rely on us for basic, preventive healthcare."



Planned Parenthood argued state laws regulating Women's Health Program don't give Texas officials the authority to exclude the organization, among other things. Texas Gov. Rick Perry and other Republican leaders countered that Texas can determine which agencies qualify for inclusion in the program.



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