Judge Refuses to Enjoin Pro-Life Texas Law

By Dave Andrusko

Texas District Judge Stephen Yelenosky

Texas District Judge Stephen Yelenosky

Chalk another one up for the state of Texas. On Friday Texas District Judge Stephen Yelenosky turned down a request from Planned Parenthood to issue a temporary injunction against a rule banning abortion providers and their affiliates from participation in the revamped Women’s Health Program, which went into effect January 1.

Judge Yelenosky said Planned Parenthood was unlikely to win at trial. This is the same judge who ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood in November.

Pro-life Gov. Rick Perry (R) released a statement saying the ruling “is great news for Texas women and further proves that Planned Parenthood’s case attempting to derail the Texas Women’s Health Program lacks merit.” He added that PPFA’s injunction request was “nothing more than a desperate move by an organization more concerned with obtaining taxpayer money than with helping women get care. With this ruling, our state can continue caring for Texas women.”

The battle between Texas and the Obama Administration has gone on for well over a year. In 2011 the Texas legislature passed a law that disqualifies abortion business affiliates from participating in the state’s WHP. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott subsequently found that the law violated no federal law or the U.S. Constitution. In February 2012, the state adopted the rules which are now under challenge by Planned Parenthood.

In response the Obama Administration threatened to cut off all federal funding. That’s exactly what it did, effective at the end of 2012. The federal government had provided some 90% of the program’s $40 million dollar budget.

But from the beginning, Gov. Perry said that, if necessary, Texas would start its own WHP using state funds, which it did on January 1.

Ironically, by taking away all federal funding, the Obama Administration undercut its own argument in court.

In explaining why he was rejecting the request of six Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Inc. affiliates, Yelensky wrote, “There must not only be probable injury but also a likelihood that the legal claim will succeed at final trial.”

He went on to say in his two-page order, “If, as plaintiffs argue, a successor program [to the old WHP funded almost entirely by the federal government] must be Medicaid-funded then the only legal remedy would be for this court to shut down the state-funded women’s health program, not to order the inclusion of Planned Parenthood.”

NRL News Today has a lengthy archives of stories about this legal battle. The latest story–“Judge allows exclusion of Planned Parenthood in Texas Women’s Health Program” –can be read at www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/news/2013/01/judge-allows-exclusion-of-planned-parenthood-in-texas-womens-health-program/

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