If you’re confused by where the Women’s Health Program stands in Texas, I don’t blame you.
Planned Parenthood will continue participating in the Women’s Health Program — for now. Travis County District Judge Stephen Yelenosky on Thursday approved a temporary injunction to delay the state’s implementation of the “Affiliate Ban Rule,” which would bar the nonprofit from participating in the program, until a full trial can be held in December.
Planned Parenthood is “likely to prevail on their claim that the rule is inconsistent with the instructions of the Texas
Legislature,” wrote Yelenosky in a letter authorizing the temporary injunction.
“This is another victory for the women of Texas that Planned Parenthood is proud to serve,” said Pete Schenkkan, the lawyer representing the group.
Multiple court proceedings have delayed and complicated the implementation of the Affiliate Ban Rule and the Texas Women’s Health Program, which the state previously planned to start on Nov. 1. In October, a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals shot down Planned Parenthood’s claim that the Affiliate Ban Rule is unconstitutional and set the stage for the state to move forward with its plan. But a few days after that ruling, another Travis County district court judge issued a temporary restraining order requiring the state to continue the program until it could be determined whether state law made the rule inoperative, because it caused the state to lose federal funding for the program.
“We’ve got the state program ready to stand up at any time, and that transition would be seamless for patients and their doctors,” Kyle Janek, Texas’ executive commissioner of health and human services, said in an earlier statement announcing that Texas would continue the federally funded Women’s Health Program until funding stops or a state court decision is made.
TM Daily Post has a primer on how we got here, which will bring you up to speed. See here for background on the lawsuit, and here for my opinion on Janek’s claim of readiness. The state will of course appeal this ruling, so I’m going to save myself the ride on the emotional roller coaster and wait to see how that shakes out.