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Perry: Texas ready to launch health program excluding Planned Parenthood

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On Wednesday, state officials say they are ready to launch a new program that cuts out Planned Parenthood– if and when federal funding is cut.

The controversy erupted during the last Legislative Session. State lawmakers voted to kick abortion providers and their affiliates out of the Women's Health Program. With a funding deadline and court battle looming state officials refused to back down.

There is a new logo and a new plan. At a Georgetown health clinic, Governor Rick Perry, Wednesday morning, announced the state is ready to keep a Women's Health Program up and running.

"So we've not only created a program that meets the needs of Texas women, it also respects life," said Perry.

According to state health officials, 3, 000 providers have signed up to participate in the new state program 500 more than currently enrolled.

" I want the providers to sign up easily I want the patients to sign up easily in fact I want them to see a seamless transition from the old program to the new program if we are forced to do so," said Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek.

Health screenings are still being provided through a federal program but that funding is to be cut December 31, unless the state allows Planned Parenthood to stay in it.

The governor made it clear that won't happen.

"And if they filed a lawsuit challenging the Texas program, and they were to prevail, they will kill this program and they will be responsible for denying these important health services to low income women in Texas," said Perry.

Legal battles are underway to keep Planned Parenthood in the existing federal program. On November 8th a court hearing will determine if a temporary restraining order will continue.

If the temporary restraining order remains in place, the state may not be able to kick Planned Parenthood out of the program until a trial is held next year.

"Planned Parenthood hasn't changed our health services haven't changed. But the politics around us have changed significantly and women unfortunately are the ones that lose out as a result," said Sarah Wheat of Planned Parenthood.

Regardless of what happens in court, Planned Parenthood leaders say they have made plans to stay in business.

"We're looking at every aspect of this and we will again- we've got deep roots here we are not closing our doors. Our doors are open and we want to make sure women can continue to count on us," said Wheat.

State officials say with their plan no one should be left out and there will be no gaps in coverage. Statewide more than 100,000 women use the program. Last year in Travis County Planned Parenthood had 2104 clients. The number two provider in the county had 277 clients.

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