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Appeals Panel Reinstates Injunction Against Texas Law Excluding Planned Parenthood From Medicaid

Appeals Panel Reinstates Injunction Against Texas Law Excluding Planned Parenthood From Medicaid

May 7, 2012 — A three-judge federal appeals panel on Friday reinstated a lower court judge's ruling granting a temporary injunction against a Texas law that excludes affiliates of abortion providers from participating in the state's Women's Health Program, the AP/U-T San Diego reports.

The panel said Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) failed to show that the state would be irreparably harmed by delaying the law from taking effect until a trial can be held (Tomlinson, AP/U-T San Diego, 5/4).

The case was filed by several Planned Parenthood affiliates in the state, who argued that the health care of 40,000 women would be disrupted if the judge did not stop the law from taking effect. They said the law violates their freedom of speech and association.

On April 30, District Court Judge Lee Yeakel issued a temporary injunction to block Texas from enforcing the law, which would have taken effect the next day. Abbott requested an emergency stay of the injunction, and Fifth Circuit Appeals Judge Jerry Smith granted the motion less than 24 hours after the initial ruling (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/2).

The appeals court did not rule on the merits of the case. It scheduled oral arguments on the injunction for early next month (Rovella, Bloomberg, 5/5). The U.S. District Court in Austin will hold a hearing on May 18 to set a trial date (MacLaggan, Reuters/Chicago Tribune, 5/4).

Reaction to Latest Ruling

Planned Parenthood on Tuesday said it would continue to see patients enrolled in the program, despite not knowing if the clinics would be reimbursed by the government for the care provided, according to Reuters/Chicago Tribune.

Catherine Frazier, a spokesperson for Gov. Rick Perry (R), said, "Today's developments do not change our concerted effort in coordination with Attorney General Abbott to defend the will of Texans and our state law, which prohibits taxpayer funds from supporting abortion providers and affiliates in the Women's Health Program" (AP/U-T San Diego, 5/4).