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Brazos Valley Burn Bans: The following counties are under a Burn Ban: Austin, Brazos, Burleson, Grimes, Houston, Lee, Leon, Madison, Milam, Robertson, San Jacinto, Trinity, Walker, Washington
It's a controversial topic that has lawyers going back to the books. Basically, the state wants to put a bill provision called Rider 8 into action. The provision introduced in 2003 would keep funds from being given to anyone who performs abortions or contracts with those who do.
But a federal appeals judge has prolonged that decision by bouncing the case back to a court in Austin. The judge also said it's not illegal to require abortion services to be separate from family planning services funded by the state.
Six Planned Parenthood Chapters in Texas have sued claiming the provision is unconstitutional.
If Ryder 8 actually went through when it was proposed in 2003 , it would have hurt more than just the Planned Parenthood clinics.
"A lot of people were saying that we would have lost all this money and it would have been hard on us. Yes, you're talking a lot of money that would have been lost, but you're talking about more the loss of these women not getting healthcare," said Debbie McCall with Planned Parenthood in Bryan.
Senator Steve Ogden of College Station and another senator wrote rider 8.
"They are two very active anti-choice legislatures that have made it apparent that they're trying to shut down Planned Parenthood and we're going to fight them all the way," said McCall.
Planned Parenthood is pleased with the federal appeals court decision which said it is illegal to keep them from getting family planning funding. But, the organization is waiting to hear if the Austin judge will agree with the appeals court judge and require the clinics to separate abortion and family planning services, and if so, what kind of separation. McCall said the two services have separate funding sources but are under one roof in Bryan.
Coalition For Life is cautiously optimistic.
"If Planned Parenthood is currently not using federal dollars to support the abortion business here locally then they should have no problem with having to separate those two entities, which would further guarantee no federal dollars are being used to underwrite abortion," said Marilisa Carney with Coalition For Life.
Senator Ogden said the Austin judge will look to see if Rider 8 is too much of a burden for organizations like Planned Parenthood.
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