Federal Judge Blocks Texas Law Excluding Planned Parenthood From Women’s Health Program
Last year, the Texas legislature (GOP controlled) prohibited state agencies from providing funds to organizations affiliated with abortion providers. The law was set to take effect May 1 (tomorrow).
A federal judge issued a temporary injunction blocking the law because it would have a substantial likelihood of being found unconstitutional as written and applied.
U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled Monday there is sufficient evidence the state law is unconstitutional. He imposed a temporary injunction against enforcing the law until he can hear full arguments.
The law passed last year by the Republican-controlled Legislature forbids state agencies from providing funds to an organization affiliated with abortion providers. It was set to go into effect on Tuesday.
In response, eight Planned Parenthood clinics that don’t provide abortions sued the state. The clinics say the law unconstitutionally restricts their freedom of speech and association.
In granting the preliminary injunction, Planned Parenthood can continue to serve women, and getting reimbursed by the state, according to the Austin Statesman.
“The court is particularly influenced by the potential for immediate loss of access to necessary medical services by several thousand Texas women,” Yeakel said in a 24-page ruling.
But that’s not the end of it - blocking the law’s effect may have repercussions almost as bad. As per the Austin Statesmen:
The Women’s Health Program, which receives 90 percent of its funding from the federal government, provides about 130,000 women a year with contraceptive care and potentially life-saving screenings for a wide range of conditions, including sexually transmitted infections, high blood pressure, cancer and diabetes.
According to Tom Suehs, executive director of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, state law bans abortion providers and their affiliates - specifically Planned Parenthood - from participating in the program.
‘If plaintiffs obtain an injunction forbidding state officials to exclude Planned Parenthood from the Medicaid Women’s Health Program or any similar successor programs, state law will require the commission to cease operating the program upon termination of federal funding,’ Suehs told Yeakel in an affidavit.
‘The commission will not introduce a similar successor program unless otherwise directed by the Legislature,’ Suehs added.
Planned Parenthood counters that the law does not tie the state’s hands, saying the program could continue even with the organization’s participation.
But just remember - the GOP keeps saying that they’re not against women even as they go after women’s access to health care by and through Planned Parenthood - a provider for millions of women nationally.