Texas Blocked from Defunding Planned Parenthood Again
In the 3rd ruling in this case in a week, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that Texas cannot exclude Planned Parenthood from its state women's health program, pending the hearing of formal arguments. The most recent ruling reversed an emergency stay issued earlier last week that allowed Texas to ban funding. The three-judge panel agreed with District Court Judge Lee Yeakel, whose initial ruling in the case a week ago had imposed a temporary injunction against the enforcement of the law. Less than 24 hours after Yeakel's ruling, Judge Jerry Smith of the 5th Circuit Court of appeals issued an emergency stay, giving Texas the right to enforce its law that would cut off funding to Planned Parenthood in the state.
At question is a rule implemented by Governor Rick Perry in March, that states that affiliates of abortion providers are ineligible to participate in the state's Medicaid Women's Health Program. Eight Planned Parenthood affiliates, none of which perform abortions, sued Texas over the law in mid-April.
In response to Friday's ruling, Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards told the Associated Press, "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...We won't let politics interfere with the health care that nearly 3 million people a year rely on Planned Parenthood for in Texas and around the country."
A court filing by Texas Solicitor General Jonathan Mitchell indicated the state would cut all women's health program funds of federal courts order Texas to allow Planned Parenthood to receive funding. The motion states, "State law prohibits Texas from continuing to operate the Texas Women's Program if taxpayer money must be provided to entities that affiliate with abortion-promoting entities...Consequently, the district court's preliminary injunction effectively forces Texas to choose between contravening state law and shutting down the program."
Media Resources: Associated Press 5/4/2012; Feminist Daily Newswire 5/1/2012, 5/2/2012
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .