Obama-rebuking judge allows Texas to withhold funds from Planned Parenthood

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, May 1, 2012 16:18 EDT
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Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) points off into the distance. Photo: Flickr user Robert Scoble, creative commons licensed.
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Just hours after a federal court issued an injunction against Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s plan to revoke public funding for Planned Parenthood, a judge on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans knocked that ruling down and permitted the state to proceed — at least for now.

Judge Jerry Smith, appointed by President George W. Bush, granted the state’s request for an emergency stay. Democrats were quick to point out that it’s not the first time Smith has weighed in on partisan politics, having recently corrected some of the president’s rhetoric on the authority of the judiciary.

Smith’s ruling gave Planned Parenthood until 5 p.m. on Tuesday to respond to the state’s appeal. It’s not clear if he’ll change his mind but, if he does not, Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding in Texas will have officially gone dry, throwing needed health care for over 130,000 lower income women into question — a dire situation that could last for months as the case makes its way through federal courts.

Reacting to the ruling, a spokesperson for the Texas attorney general’s office told The Los Angeles Times that Planned Parenthood “is now banned from receiving funding from the state.”

Since Texas Republicans began strangling funds for Planned Parenthood via other budgetary means, a wave of clinic closures has crossed the state, with dozens of non-PPFA locations shutting down as a consequence of the state revoking subsidies for women’s health programs.

Even facing that, Texas Republicans prioritized and passed a law last year that effectively bans the women’s health provider from receiving taxpayer dollars, meaning the state will now actually forgo $35 million in federal Medicare funding rather than see any of it benefit Planned Parenthood.

Photo: Flickr user Robert Scoble, creative commons licensed.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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