A federal appeals court ruled Friday that Texas cannot ban Planned Parenthood from receiving state funds, at least until a lower court has had a chance to hear formal arguments on the constitutionality of the ban.
A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a per curiam opinion that agreed with a lower court’s holding there was sufficient evidence that the state’s law banning Planned Parenthood from participating the the Women’s Health Program is unconstitutional.
Appellate Judge Jerry Smith had issued an emergency stay of the injunction which allowed the law to move forward.
But on Friday he said that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott had not demonstrated that Texas would be irreparably harmed by holding off on enforcing the new law until a trial later this summer. “We cannot conclude, on the present state of the record, that the State has shown a great likelihood, approaching a near certainty, that the district court abused its discretion in entering the injunction,” the court order said.
In response, Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund issued the following statement:
“This case isn’t about Planned Parenthood — it’s about the women who rely on Planned Parenthood for cancer screenings, birth control, and well-woman exams.
“Governor Perry has already thrown 160,000 women off of health care for partisan political reasons — now there will be more to come. Mitt Romney would supersize what’s happening in Texas and try to block women’s access to lifesaving health care nationwide.
“Planned Parenthood’s doors are open today and they’ll be open tomorrow. We won’t let politics interfere with the health care that nearly three million people a year rely on Planned Parenthood for in Texas and around the country.”
This is excellent news for women in Texas and a hopeful sign that justice in the state of Texas is not dead yet.
Photo from badlyricpolice via flickr.