Texas Sues Obama Administration in Abortion Dispute
The Texas attorney general on Friday sued the Obama administration to challenge its decision to shut down a women’s health program over a dispute centered on the state’s withholding of funds to clinics that provide abortions.
The filing of the lawsuit comes as both Republican officials in Texas and the Obama administration have expressed regret that poor women in the state who depend on the health services could be hurt by the escalating political fight.
“This is about life and the rule of law, which Texas respects and the Obama administration does not,” Texas Governor Rick Perry, a former Republican presidential candidate, said in a statement on Friday.
The lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican, is against Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, and against her agency.
The federal suit argues the agency acted illegally and in a manner that was arbitrary and capricious when it decided to terminate funding for the Texas Women’s Health Program, which serves more than 100,000 low-income women, due to Texas law that prohibits funding of entities that promote or perform abortions.
“(The decision) also violates the Constitution of the United States by seeking to commandeer and coerce the states’ lawmaking processes into awarding taxpayer subsidies to elective abortion providers,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, one day after the Obama administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced it would begin shutting down the Texas Women’s Health Program.
The federal government pays about 90 percent of the cost of the program.