A federal judge has blocked Texas from cutting down on Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood. The ruling, issued by the United States District Court judge in the Western District of Texas, Sam Sparks, states that “the state had presented no credible evidence to support claims that the organization violated medical or ethical standards related to abortion procedures.”
This ruling comes after Texas authorities had accused Planned Parenthood of selling fetal body parts. This accusation, however, had been investigated by 13 different states, all of which found no evidence of this. A grand jury in Texas even indicted the two behind the video that sparked these accusations, but the charges were later dropped.
The judge specifically stated in his ruling that “the subject of this case is the State of Texas’ efforts to expel a group of health care providers (…)for families and individuals with limited resources.” The acknowledgment that lawmakers are deliberately attempting to put the reproductive rights of those of a lower socioeconomic status in jeopardy is crucial for those fighting against the Republican lawmakers.
For the 12,500 Texans on Medicaid that receive health services from Planned Parenthood, this ruling is a victory that shows that even when Republicans repeatedly try to take away their reproductive rights, there are still people in the government willing to stand up and protect those rights. These are the people who will guarantee safe and affordable access to breast cancer screenings, STI and STD testing, contraceptive information and resources, and abortions for all.
For the 2.5 million Americans who benefit from Planned Parenthood, this means something similar; although a ruling in Texas may not affect constituents of other states directly, it is an important message to others who might try and defund Planned Parenthood.
Texas is now the sixth state in which the federal court has protected Planned Parenthood.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton declared his intent to appeal the ruling, but this is still an important victory for Planned Parenthood and the people who benefit from the organization’s many services.