SAN ANTONIO - 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.
Cindy Mann, the director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said on Thursday the federal government had no choice but to discontinue the program because Texas' denial of funds for abortion restricts the freedom of choice of health providers and is not permitted under federal law.
With the decision, Texas became the first state to have its Medicaid Family Planning Demonstration Program canceled by the federal government. The program provides basic medical services, including breast and cervical cancer screening, and birth control, for 130,000 of the state's poorest women.
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.