And just like that, we’re back where we started.
Late last night, a federal appeals court judge granted Texas an emergency stay halting Planned Parenthood’s participation in the Women’s Health Program.
Justice Jerry Smith of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted the stay, lifting at least temporarily an injunction – issued yesterday by U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel – that banned Texas from excluding Planned Parenthood from the program.
Planned Parenthood has until 5 p.m. today to respond, after which the appeals court will issue a final ruling on the stay.
According to the request for an emergency stay, filed last night by Attorney General Greg Abbott, “Texas — and the women of Texas who depend on the Women’s Health Program — will be irreparably harmed because state law prohibits Texas from continuing to operate the (program) if taxpayer money must be provided to entities that affiliate with abortion-promoting entities.”
“Consequently, the district court’s preliminary injunction effectively forces Texas to choose between contravening state law and shutting down the program,” Abbott told the appeals court.
The stay means Texas cannot reimburse Planned Parenthood for patients treated as part of the Women’s Health Program, which offers contraceptives, health screenings and other care to low-income women.
If you feel like you’ve got whiplash, I sympathize. Just remember that the reason Texas is in this position is because Greg Abbott said it would be okay for the Lege to go ahead and ignore federal law in the pursuit of killing Planned Parenthood. Your buddies at the Fifth Circuit have your butt covered for now, Greg. Texas Politics, BOR, and Juanita have more.