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Planned Parenthood: Federal judge blocks funding cuts in Texas

A federal judge today stopped Texas from preventing Planned Parenthood from getting funds through the state's Women's Health Program.

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In this picture from last year, protesters shouted slogans during a rally to "stand up for women's health" in support of Planned Parenthood at the National Mall in Washington, DC, on April 7, 2011. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

A federal judge today stopped Texas from preventing Planned Parenthood from getting funds through the state's Women's Health Program. The state immediately appealed the decision.

US District Judge Lee Yeakel in Austin ruled there was sufficient evidence that banning Planned Parenthood from the program is unconstitutional, according to the Associated Press. He imposed an injunction against the law until he has heard full arguments. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott appealed the injunction.

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The rule that has been deemed unconstitutional forbids state agencies from giving funds to an organization affiliated with abortion providers, reported MSNBC. Planned Parenthood officials said it unconstitutionally restricted their freedom of speech and association. With the preliminary injunction in place, the clinics can continue to provide services to women and get reimbursed by the state.

Yeakel said in his ruling that he was influenced by the possible loss of access to medical services for thousands of women in Texas.

"In balancing the relative harm to the parties and the court's concern for the interest of the public, the court is particularly influenced by the potential for immediate loss of access to necessary medical services by several thousand Texas women," he wrote, according to the Guardian.

The Los Angeles Times reported that some Texas officials have threatened to shut down the entire Women's Health Program if the courts force them to fund Planned Parenthood.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/health/120430/planned-parenthood-federal-judge-blocks-funding-cuts-in-texas