Federal Appeals Court: Texas Can Defund Planned Parenthood


The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a federal district court ruling that prevented the State of Texas from defunding Planned Parenthood.

Yesterday, the federal district court granted a preliminary injunction to Planned Parenthood preventing the enforcement of a new Texas law that would have defunded Planned Parenthood in that state. The ruling by the Fifth Circuit issued latter that day grants Texas a stay of that preliminary injunction order.

Texas can now enforce the law defunding Planned Parenthood as the case proceeds on appeal.

The new Texas law at issue in the case prohibits the Texas Women’s Health Program, which distributes tax dollars for health services, from contracting with entities or “affiliates of entities that perform or promote elective abortions,” effectively defunding Planned Parenthood in Texas.

Planned Parenthood claims in their complaint that the new Texas law “will cause irreparable harm to [Planned Parenthood] and to tens of thousands of low-income women seeking family planning and other preventative health services,” i.e. abortions.

The trial court, which agreed with Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses, said it was “particularly influenced by the potential for immediate loss of access to necessary medical services by several thousand Texas women.” The federal district court went on to say that it believed there is a substantial likelihood that Planned Parenthood would be able to show that banning tax dollars from going to abortion-affiliated businesses would violate the abortion-affiliated organizations’ constitutional rights.

In granting the stay, the appeals court overruled the lower court’s order, pending its own review of the issue, thus allowing Texas to defund Planned Parenthood as the case proceeds on appeal.

The ACLJ is preparing to file an amicus brief in this case arguing that Texas is well within its right to defund Planned Parenthood. The ACLJ has backed similar efforts in states like Indiana to defund the abortion giant and will continue to do so at both the federal and state level.

Matthew Clark is an associate counsel with the ACLJ in Media and Government Affairs.

Used with the permission of the ACLJ.

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