Remember yesterday when everyone was so happy that Planned Parenthood got temporary permission to continue participating in the Texas Women’s Health Program? Time to stop being happy: the hyper-conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled overnight that it’s an “emergency” that Planned Parenthood continue to be excluded from the program while they challenge the constitutionality of the law in court. The judge responsible for the new ruling is none other than Rush Limbaugh “team” member Judge Jerry Smith. Via my piece on RHRC today:
The judge who granted the State of Texas an “emergency” stay on the injunction first thing this morning is the deeply partisan, conservative Judge Jerry Smith, whom Rush Limbaugh welcomed to his anti-Obama “team” in April after Smith demanded that a Justice Department attorney write him a three-page explanation of the Obama Administration’s opinion on the court’s authority to overturn acts of Congress.
The case hinges on whether the State of Texas’ 2005 law that bars “affiliates” of abortion providers from receiving public funds is unconstitutional. Planned Parenthood has argued their exclusion from the Women’s Health Program is a violation of Planned Parenthood’s first amendment right to free speech and association.
Texas only began enforcing the seven-year-old affiliate-banning law this year, which as RH Reality Check has previously reported, has suddenly left tens of thousands of low-income Texas women wondering where they will get the reproductive care for which they depended on Planned Parenthood, which served nearly half of the participants of the WHP in Texas.
If you feel like you’ve heard the song “Fifth Circuit Court Of Appeals Says We Should Totally Keep Enforcing This Potentially Unconstitutional Law While It’s Being Challenged In Court” before, you have: Smith is also on the three-judge panel that has stymied any appeals to Texas’ forced transvaginal ultrasound law.
Read the rest of the analysis on today’s ruling on RHRC here.