Great news to start the weekend: the 5th Circuit lifted their emergency stay that prevented Planned Parenthood from participating in the Women's Health Program! The federal appeals court lifted the emergency stay granted by a judge on the 5th Circuit court earlier this week. Now, Federal Judge Lee Yeakel's original injunction against the efforts to exclude Planned Parenthood from the WHP stands and the case goes to trial. The decision was by a three-judge panel including Smith, who issued the original emergency stay for Greg Abbott.
Cecile Richards, President of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and daughter of the last decent Governor to lead this state, said in a statement:
“This case isn't about Planned Parenthood – it's about the women who rely on Planned Parenthood for cancer screenings, birth control, and well-woman exams.
“Governor Perry has already thrown 160,000 women off of health care for partisan political reasons – now there will be more to come. Mitt Romney would supersize what's happening in Texas and try to block women's access to lifesaving health care nationwide.
“Planned Parenthood's doors are open today and they'll be open tomorrow. We won't let politics interfere with the health care that nearly three million people a year rely on Planned Parenthood for in Texas and around the country.”
Preach, Cecile! This means that women can continue coming to Planned Parenthood health centers for WHP health services. Low-income Texas women will again have access to life-saving preventive health care from their trusted provider without interruption as the rest of the trial proceeds.
This story is far from over. Judge Yeakel set a May 18 conference to schedule a trial date to determine whether the injunction should be made permanent, i.e. if the Texas law barring Planned Parenthood from participating in either a federal or state Women's Health Program should be blocked for good.
But still, good news for a change. The State failed to show that they'd suffer irreparable harm from allowing Planned Parenthood to participate in the program, and women can continue receiving healthcare from the provider while this gets sorted out for good.