May 11, 2012
Federal Court: Texas Must Resume Funding Planned Parenthood
After three court rulings within the space of a week, a three-judge panel from the 5 th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that Texas must continue using taxpayer dollars to fund Planned Parenthood as a lawsuit continues.
Planned Parenthood is suing the state over a law passed in 2011 which says no organizations affiliated with abortion sellers will receive public funds. Because some Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas don't perform abortions, the group claims it is constitutionally entitled to a share of the Medicaid funds that fuel Texas' Women's Health.
A week ago, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel agreed with Planned Parenthood and issued an injunction that restored funding.
But one day later, Judge Jerry E. Smith, a judge on the 5th Circuit, granted a temporary halt of the injunction, allowing the state to enforce the law and stop the funding. But Smith also asked Planned Parenthood to submit its written arguments against the granting of the temporary stay. It did so later that same day.
Then on Friday, a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit — including Smith — revoked the stay. That restored funding under Yeakel's injunction pending the circuit court's more in-depth review of Yeakel's decision.
The appeals court is expected to hear the state's appeal of district court injunction on June 4.
Marilyn Musgrave, vice president of government affairs for the Susan B. Anthony List, questioned Planned Parenthood's pursuit of public funds when it has more than $1 billion in assets.
"You have to wonder about the wisdom of this standoff between Planned Parenthood and the American taxpayer," she said.
In addition to the lawsuit Planned Parenthood is waging, the Obama administration pulled $30 million in annual federal funding to the Texas program over the new law. The current funding covers the program through November.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry has vowed to find a way to continue the women's health program without the federal funds. But it appears state officials are willing to end the program if they are required to make payments to abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood.
"The state of Texas is under no obligation to provide taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood, which accounts for less than 2 percent of the more than 2,500 Women's Health Program providers statewide," Perry's spokeswoman, Catherine Frazier, told reporters in April. "Texas law has been very clear from Day One of this program that abortion providers and their affiliates, like Planned Parenthood, are not qualified providers."
Texas Right to Life agreed."By launching this politically motivated lawsuit against the state of Texas, Planned Parenthood has shown that they are not the champion of women's health they say they are," said Director Elizabeth Graham. "They are clearly willing to throw women's health under the bus to maintain their government funding and further their abortion agenda.
"As far as Planned Parenthood is concerned, if they can't have the money, then nobody can."