A US Appeals Court yesterday overturned Monday’s ruling granting a temporary injunction that prevented Texas from defunding Planned Parenthood. Judge Jerry Smith of the 5th Circuit Court of appeals issued an emergency stay, giving Texas the right to enforce its law that would cut off funding to Planned Parenthood in the state. Under a rule implemented by Governor Rick Perry in March, affiliates of abortion providers are ineligible to participate in the state’s Medicaid Women’s Health Program.
Eight Planned Parenthood affiliates, none of which perform abortions, sued Texas over the law in mid-April and were granted a temporary injunction by the District Court on Monday. The higher court stayed the injunction less than 24 hours after the District Court’s ruling. Judge Smith said he wanted to hear arguments and he gave Planned Parenthood until 5pm yesterday to file an opposition brief. The judge said he will consider this brief before issuing a final ruling.
A spokeswoman for the Health and Human Services Commission in Texas, the commission that administers the Women’s Health Program, said that because of the ruling, “ineligible providers, including Planned Parenthood, are no longer eligible to bill the Women’s Health Program.” Rochella Tafolla, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, vowed that Planned Parenthood will continue to provide women with medical services, saying “we’re planning to continue to see women who are enrolled in the WHP because we don’t want to confuse them any more than the state has. It may be that services we provide today will not be reimbursed because of the judge’s and state’s actions last night. This is a midnight deal and we need to see the women that are relying on us.” She also urged the judge to act quickly for the 100,000 women in the state that rely on the program.
Reuters 5/1/12; Los Angeles Times 5/1/12; Huffington Post 5/1/12; Feminist Daily News Wire 5/1/12