Federal Court Stands By Ruling Allowing Texas to Strip Planned Parenthood Funding

A federal court has refused to re-hear a case involving a Texas law that stripped Planned Parenthood of Medicaid funding.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request from Planned Parenthood Thursday to reconsider its recent decision allowing the state to keep the abortion giant out of its Women’s Health Program.

“Today’s ruling affirms yet again that in Texas, the Women’s Health Program has no obligation to fund Planned Parenthood and other organizations that perform or promote abortion,” said Governor Rick Perry following the decision. “In Texas we choose life, and we will immediately begin defunding all abortion affiliates to honor and uphold that choice.”

In August, the Fifth Circuit, located in New Orleans, Louisiana, overturned a decision by a Dallas District Court, which stated that Texas could not deny funding to Planned Parenthood over the state’s objections to abortion. The Fifth Circuit had previously released an adverse ruling against the state earlier this year, opining that Perry’s law was unconstitutional.

“We therefore hold that Texas may deny WHP funds from organizations that promote elective abortions through identifying marks. The restriction on identifying marks is really a limit on promoting elective abortions, and it is therefore valid as a direct regulation of the content of a state program,” it wrote. “Again, because this restriction is lawful as a direct regulation of speech, we have no reason to examine it within the framework of the unconstitutional conditions doctrine.”

The court also sent the case back to the district court for further analysis.

“On remand, the district court is to reconsider the constitutionality of the restriction on affiliating with entities that perform elective abortions, specifically the prongs defining affiliation based on franchise and common ownership, management, or control, and to rule accordingly,” Judge E. Grady Jolly, a Reagan appointee, wrote on behalf of the three judge panel.

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A number of appeals have been made in the matter over the past year, both by the state and Planned Parenthood, and it is possible that the abortion giant could still appeal the case to the United States Supreme Court.

As previously reported, earlier this week, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago released a very different ruling over the same issue.

“The defunding law excludes Planned Parenthood from Medicaid for a reason unrelated to its fitness to provide medical services, violating its patients’ statutory right to obtain medical care from the qualified provider of their choice,” wrote Judge Diane Sykes.

A district court in Arizona also granted an injunction last Friday against an Arizona law that denied Medicaid compensation for family planning groups like Planned Parenthood.

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