A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals restored funding to Texas Planned Parenthood clinics on Friday, finding that there's sufficient evidence that a state law preventing Planned Parenthood from participating in the Women's Health Program is unconstitutional, reports The Associated Press.
The decision reinstates Judge Lee Yeakel's injunction pending a trial in the matter.
Texas passed a law last year that essentially excluded abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood, from receiving funding from the Texas Medicaid Women's Health Program beginning May 1. Eight Planned Parenthood clinics that do not offer abortions sued to block implementation of the law in anticipation of the deadline, and won a temporary injunction last week from Judge Yeakel in a Texas federal court.
Fifth Circuit Judge Jerry Smith, however, stayed the injunction.
Lawyers for the state previously argued that Judge Yeakel’s injunction would cause Texas women irreparable harm. Since Texas law prohibits public money from going to abortion-promoting services, they claim that the order would force the state to either shut down the Texas Women’s Health Program or violate state laws, according to Fox News. On Friday, the three-judge panel disagreed, stating that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott had not demonstrated that Texas would be irreparably harmed by waiting to enforce the new law until a trial can be held.
The Texas plan to cut off Planned Parenthood funding has drawn attacks from both the organization and the federal government. The Obama administration announced in March that it would withdraw federal funding — approximately 90 percent of the state's Medicaid budget — from the state’s $35 million Medicaid program because the abortion provider funding ban violated women’s right to pick the best available healthcare provider, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Texas Solicitor General Jonathan Mitchell previously said that the state would cut all funds to the Women's Health Program if federal courts ordered Texas to allow abortion providers to participate in the program, the AP reports. Texas officials have not announced whether the state will cease funding the program in light of Fifth Circuit's decision.
- Judge Smith Stays Injunction on Texas Planned Parenthood Funding (FindLaw's Fifth Circuit Blog)
- Judge: Texas can't cut out Planned Parenthood (The Associated Press)
- Fifth Circuit Denies Texas Sonogram Law En Banc Rehearing (FindLaw's Fifth Circuit Blog)