Court: TX Must Include Planned Parenthood in WHP
by Tan Thanh, The Texas Tribune
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the emergency stay it granted to the state of Texas on Tuesday, meaning that the Texas Health and Human Services Commisssion may not begin excluding Planned Parenthood clinics from the Women’s Health Program while a lawsuit on the matter is pending in district court.
“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,” Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards said in a statement. “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 3 million people a year rely on Planned Parenthood for in Texas and around the country.”
In their order, the three appellate judges clarified that their ruling is temporary and does not guarantee that Planned Parenthood will remain in the prgoram longterm. However, they said they “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.”
It’s been a whirlwind week for the 49 Planned Parenthood clinics that participate in the Texas program — and the patients who seek treatment from them. On Monday, a district judge in Austin granted Planned Parenthood a preliminary injunction that temporarily prohibits the state from excluding them from the Women’s Health Program. (Clinics affiliated with abortion providers were to be disenrolled between May 1 and May 15.) Less than 24 hours later, Attorney General Greg Abbott successfully filed an appeal in the Fifth Circuit that granted the state an emergency stay — meaning the health department could start disenrolling clinics. Now, that’s on hold again.