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Judge rules against Texas in women’s care dispute

WACO, Texas — A ­Texas request to force the US Health and Human Services Department to continue funding its women’s health program was denied Friday, as a judge sided with federal authorities who say the state’s exclusion of Planned Parenthood violates HHS guidelines.

US District Judge Walter Smith’s ruling will not affect the state’s decision to move forward next year with an entirely state-funded program, though the state was also seeking to keep its federal funding, said Stephanie Goodman, a spokeswoman for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

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But Planned ­Parenthood, which serves more than 40 percent of the low-income women in the Texas program, questioned whether the state’s efforts would be ­effective without US funding.

State lawmakers have banned any clinic affiliated with abortion providers from taking part in the women’s health program, which covers cancer screenings and other services for an estimated 130,000 low-income women. In response, US authorities announced they will cut off funding, which pays for 90 percent of the family-planning costs.

Smith denied a state request for a preliminary injunction to force Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services, to keep the funding in place. US funding is scheduled to expire on Dec. 31.

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