A federal appeals court will review a new Texas rule that prohibits Planned Parenthood groups from participating in a taxpayer-funded program providing health care and family planning services to low-income women.
The state is asking the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans to lift an injunction that bars the Texas Health and Human Services Commission from enforcing the rule. A three-judge panel is scheduled to hear arguments Thursday on that request.
As we know, a three-judge panel on the Fifth Circuit originally stayed the injunction, but then put it back after Planned Parenthood had a chance to respond. I can’t find a news account from after the hearing, but this Governing post tells me that this is the actual appeal of the injunction. Oral arguments for the lawsuit will be in October, so the Fifth Circuit ruling will determine whether or not the rule is in effect until there is a verdict in the lawsuit, which will be at the end of the year. The inevitable appeals will then follow. Got all that?
That’s all I know about this case right now, so let me take this opportunity to link to a few other things relating to Planned Parenthood. I had the opportunity to attend their annual luncheon last week and sat at a table with Egberto Willies, who did a nice job writing about the event and capturing some video from it. Also there was Nonsequiteuse, who discussed some of the policy and polling matters that keynote speaker Anna Greenberg spoke about, and who showed a strongly pro-choice, pro-Planned Parenthood TV ad that was used in the successful primary for an open Congressional seat in New Mexico by candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham. Greenberg spoke about how generally speaking Planned Parenthood polls well nationally. That’s somewhat of a mixed bag in Texas, according to this UT/Texas Trib poll that came out this week. What I take from that is that the likes of Rick Perry and Greg Abbott have succeeding in making a partisan issue out of something that shouldn’t be. Of course abortion is a divisive issue that arouses much passion, but the Women’s Health Program isn’t about that and shouldn’t be divisive. Pap smears, well women exams, cancer screenings – these things should not be partisan. Alas, that’s where we have arrived, and that’s where we will be as long as the current regime is in power. You know the drill by now: Nothing will change until the leadership in this state changes. You can’t make that happen if you’re not working towards getting the candidates who support these things elected.