AUSTIN, Texas — A federal appeals judge stepped into the fight over the Texas Women’s Health Program on Tuesday, saying he wanted to hear arguments on whether the state should be prevented from enforcing a law that bans Planned Parenthood from participating in the program.
Less than 24 hours after a federal judge in Austin ordered Texas not to enforce a rule banning clinics associated with abortion providers from receiving state funds, Fifth Circuit Appeals Judge Jerry Smith granted Texas an emergency stay lifting the Austin court’s order.
Smith gave attorneys representing the eight Planned Parenthood organizations involved in the suit until 5 p.m. on Tuesday to present their arguments.
“We are disappointed in the stay granted last night,” said Sarah Wheat, interim CEO of Planned Parenthood of Austin Family Planning. “When presented with both sides, the District Court agreed the rule was likely unconstitutional, and that implementation would cause a serious problem with health care access for Texas women.”
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