US District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled Monday that a law banning Planned Parenthood from getting state health funds may be unconstitutional. The judge's injunction is temporary.
(AP Photo/San Antonio Express-News, Helen L. Montoya)
US District Judge Lee Yeakel in Austin ruled there is sufficient evidence that a law banning Planned Parenthood from the program is unconstitutional. He imposed an injunction against enforcing it until he can hear full arguments.
The law passed last year by the Republican-controlled Legislature forbids state agencies from providing funds to an organization affiliated with abortion providers. Eight Planned Parenthood clinics that do not provide abortions sued the state. The clinics say the law unconstitutionally restricts their freedom of speech and association to qualify to take part in state health programs.
The judge accepted Planned Parenthood's argument that banning the organization from the program would leave women without access to clinics for basic health services and check-ups.
"The court is particularly influenced by the potential for immediate loss of access to necessary medical services by several thousand Texas women," Yeakel wrote in his ruling. "The record before the court at this juncture reflects uncertainty as to the continued viability of the Texas Women's Health Program."
Texas officials have said that if the state is forced to include Planned Parenthood, they will likely shut down the program that serves basic health care and contraception to 130,000 poor women. Yeakel acknowledged that was a risk.