Visiting Judge Gary Harger ruled Monday that Texas may defund Planned Parenthood [official website; JURIST news archive] through its Affiliate Ban Rule [text, PDF]. The rule denies funding [CNN report] to any organization participating in the state's Women's Health Program [official website] that also performs abortions. Planned Parenthood had sought an injunction against implementation of the rule. Planned Parenthood has brought three lawsuits over the rule, arguing that it violates constitutional and state law. Another hearing with a different judge is scheduled for January 11, at which time Planned Parenthood will again ask for an injunction on the rule to permit them to receive state funding.
This is the latest development in the ongoing reproductive rights controversy [JURIST backgrounder] in the US. Last October the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit declined to reconsider its August decision to allow Texas to defund Planned Parenthood [JURIST reports]. The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld an injunction [JURIST report] against an Indiana law that would block Medicaid funding for abortion providers earlier that same month. Also in October a federal judge blocked a similar bill [JURIST report] that would have defunded Planned Parenthood in Arizona. In August the Fifth Circuit upheld Louisiana's Act 490, which allows the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) to revoke an abortion clinic's license [JURIST report] immediately after a regulation violation, rather than allowing the abortion clinic time to comply with the regulation. That same month a Kansas judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit [JURIST report] challenging the state's new abortion clinic regulations after state officials asked that they be upheld without a trial.