In December 2016, Texas boldly moved — as the state tends to do — in an attempt to defund Planned Parenthood to the tune of millions. This was only the latest maneuver by the state’s Republican party after the Supreme Court struck down the state’s abortion-thwarting HB2 law, which placed several undue burdens upon women who seek the procedure. Now, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks has granted an injunction to protect the state’s Planned Parenthood funding, and Sparks mocked Texas’ evidence in the process.
Texas’ recent history in its fight against reproductive rights says a lot. Governor Greg Abbot has ordered aborted fetuses to be cremated or buried. After the SCOTUS HB2 humiliation, the Texas Department of Health and Human Services moved to cut the aforementioned funding, which would have stripped vital Planned Parenthood services — HIV and cancer screenings, low-cost birth control, and family planning among them — other than abortion to approximately 11,000 low-income patients and their families. Reuters has the details on the court’s ruling:
U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks said state health officials “likely acted to disenroll qualified health care providers from Medicaid without cause.” He said the preliminary injunction will preserve the court’s ability to render a meaningful decision on the case’s merits.
“Such action would deprive Medicaid patients of their statutory right to obtain health care from their chosen qualified provider,” wrote the judge who was appointed by Republican former President George H.W. Bush.
Following the district court’s ruling, Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton vowed to appeal while calling the decision “disappointing” and against “basic human decency.” It must also be noted that the state’s move to defund Planned Parenthood sources from those controversial April 2016 videos that purported to show employees attempting to sell fetal tissue.
According to the New York Times, Judge Sparks trashed the state’s evidence (including the video footage) in his ruling:
“A secretly recorded video, fake names, a grand jury indictment, congressional investigations — these are the building blocks of a best-selling novel rather than a case concerning the interplay of federal and state authority through the Medicaid program. Yet rather than a villain plotting to take over the world, the subject of this case is the State of Texas’ efforts to expel a group of health care providers from a social health care program for families and individuals with limited resources.”
Judge Sparks actually said that Texas’ evidence was like a “best-selling novel,” which is both brutal and amazing. Knowing Texas, however, this case is likely to move up the appellate circuit and all the way to the Supreme Court.