In early 2012, Governor Rick Perry and Texas Health and Human Services Commissioner Tom Suehs signed on a rule to exclude the state's Planned Parenthood affiliates from the federally-funded Women's Health Program.
If enacted, that controversial rule would cut off all funding to the organization's affiliate clinics in Texas, despite the fact that they do not provide abortions — and are legally and financially separate from the national Planned Parenthood entity.
On Monday in Austin, a small, but significant win was reached for women though. As the Associated Press first reported,
U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel . . . 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 court order granting preliminary injunction states that "the rule conflicts with a provision of the Social Security Act that assures free choice of family-planning providers."
And injunction comes just in time: Funding for the Planned Parenthood clinics would have cut off beginning May 1, leaving many affiliates without funding and thousands of women with reduced access to health care.
Represented by Graves, Dougherty, Hearon & Moody, the Texas Planned Parenthood affiliates banded together to file a lawsuit, which argues that the rule is unconstitutional under the First and 14th Amendments.