AUSTIN -- Planned Parenthood's fight for state funds is underway in a Travis County courtroom.
Planned Parenthood is battling for a change in the state's revamped Women's Health Program. It went into effect at the beginning of the year. The program provides state funds for women’s health care services.
However it states that no money will go toward an agency affiliated with abortions. Since some PPGT clinics offer abortion services, the non-profit has been dropped from the state program. It’s since been forced to operate without any state or federal dollars.
“We feel we’re being discriminated; singled out,” said CEO of Planned Parenthood Hidalgo/McAllen Patricio Gonzales. “This is one of our major funding sources. For my affiliate it's 50 percent of our budget. For the clinics it's 80 percent of their budget. So this does represent some harm to the clients and to the clinics themselves.”
The non-profit is asking 345th District Judge Stephen Yelenosky to grant a temporary injunction. Lawyers for PPGT argue that state funding should continue to be granted to the non-profit based on other services it provides.
“We do well-women exams. We do physical exams, cancer screening, life-saving exams. We give birth control. We do lab work. We do gynecological problems. We do everything for the women,” said Gonzales.
Many clients, Gonzales added, are worried about where to turn to now for those services.
“They’re very upset, very distressed. Some of them have been with us for five years and all of a sudden they have to go to someone new, someone different,” explained Gonzales.
In the meantime doors are still open. Gonzales also says PPGT is exploring other funding options including outside grants and foundations.
Friday’s hearing is expected to last throughout the afternoon.