Court Denies Planned Parenthood Motion for Preliminary Injunction
Oklahoma City --Today Planned Parenthood was denied its motion for a preliminary injunction to preserve Oklahoma women’s access to the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program at three of Planned Parenthood’s Tulsa health centers. The current contract with the Oklahoma State Department of Health is set to expire December 31.
Recently the Oklahoma State Department of Health notified Planned Parenthood its WIC contract would be terminated. Of grave concern is the impact the rule would have on Oklahoma women and families. The Tulsa World
recently interviewed low-income women who count on Planned Parenthood for assistance in order to feed their children. One woman called other WIC providers and found that there is a three to four month waiting period for WIC services. Three months is an impossibly long time during the critical developmental stages of pregnancy, infancy and early childhood.
“We are truly disappointed with today’s court ruling and the impact it will have on the women and children in the Tulsa area who have relied on Planned Parenthood for WIC and the many other services we provide,” said President & CEO, Jill June. “While we are convinced of our claim, we will weigh all our possible options going forward.”
“Planned Parenthood will remain in Tulsa as a trusted provider of women’s health care, family practice and reproductive health education for thousands of people who rely on us for their health care needs,” said June. “Planned Parenthood will be here for our patients no matter what.”
Nevertheless, without a preliminary injunction in place, Planned Parenthood will be forced to stop WIC services on December 31st and unfortunately this will eliminate six fulltime staff members and may result in the closing of its health center in West Tulsa.
KEY BACKGROUND FACTS:
The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program is a federal grant program to provide supplemental foods and nutrition education to low-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, infants, and young children who are found by a health professional to be at nutritional risk.
Planned Parenthood has participated in the Oklahoma Women, Infants and Children Program for eighteen years and has a record of providing high quality care to women in need. Planned Parenthood is the largest independent provider of WIC in Tulsa County, providing services to nearly 3,000 women, infants, and children in September 2012. It is unlikely other providers can absorb the influx of Planned Parenthood’s patients.
At the end of September – just days before the contract for WIC services was scheduled to renew – Planned Parenthood received a letter that Planned Parenthood was being eliminated from Oklahoma’s WIC program.
While no reason was offered in the state’s termination letter, several shifting reasons have been offered by Department of Health officials about the decision to abruptly eliminate only Planned Parenthood from WIC after nearly two decades of participation. Not one of the Department’s rationales holds up under examination.
Indeed, an independent evaluation of three reasons offered by state officials in media reports by the Oklahoma Policy Institute also found “none of the reasons given by OSDH for the abrupt termination of Planned Parenthood’s WIC program are accurate representations of the facts.”