May 1, 2012
Court: Texas Can Bar Planned Parenthood For Now
Ruling leaves organization’s funding, state’s law in limbo.
A U.S. appeals court’s reversal of a ruling made less than a day before means that Texas can exclude Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers from its Women’s Health Program (WHP)—for now.
Last year, Texas lawmakers barred women’s clinics affiliated with abortion providers from receiving state funds through the WHP. Planned Parenthood, which serves more than 40 percent of the women involved in the WHP, filed a lawsuit earlier this year to maintain their funding.
On Monday, it appeared Planned Parenthood had won a victory when a federal district court judge in Austin, Lee Yeakel, ordered the state to stop its enforcement of the law, which went into effect May 1.
But Fifth Circuit Appeals Judge Jerry Smith granted the state an emergency stay on Tuesday, effectively reversing the lower court’s order. Now Planned Parenthood’s attorneys have until 5 p.m. Tuesday to file an opposition brief. The appeals court will make its final ruling on the stay after that.
This is just the latest development in the ongoing fight over Texas’ new law. In March, the federal government withdrew funding for Texas’ Medicaid program—about 90 percent of its budget—and argued Texas was violating women’s right to choose the best available healthcare provider. Texas is suing over the decision.