Remember yesterday when a federal court ruled that Texas's law designed to exclude Planned Parenthood from its Women's Health Program was unconstitutional? And remember how we were all like, Yay! Good news! Well, turn that upside down frown back upside down — the state of Texas has filed and been granted an emergency stay allowing the law to go into effect, in one of the clusterfuckiest clusterfucks you'll read about today.
For the uninitiated, here's a rundown: last year, Texas Governor Rick Perry slashed about two-thirds of the state of Texas's family planning budget, and signed into law a measure designed to exclude Planned Parenthood from receiving any funds earmarked for the state's Women's Health Program, which provides about 130,000 economically disadvantaged Texas women with health care. Planned Parenthood of Texas is not only the largest provider of care in the Women's Health Program, it also is a completely financially and legally separate entity from the Planned Parenthood that provides abortions in the state. That hasn't stopped Texas lawmakers to claim that Planned Parenthood, the one receiving funds, was using those funds to abort abort abort all the live long day.
When Texas cut Planned Parenthood out of its Women's Health Program, the federal government said they'd withhold the funds they provided the state, but Perry said he'd replace the program's shortfall with money from the state's coffers. Planned Parenthood sued, claiming that the law punished them for their affiliation with an abortion-providing organization and was thus violating their free speech rights. A federal judge agreed, blocking enforcement of the law.
But then! The state of Texas filed a truly assy appeal claiming that the ruling was forcing the state to choose between financing Planned Parenthood and shutting down the entire Women's Health Program, alleging, among other things, that providing money to Planned Parenthood freed up money to perform abortions, which is sort of like terrorism. From the state of Texas' Motion to Stay:
Money is fungible, and taxpayer subsidies-even if "earmarked" for nonabortion activities-free up other resources for Planned Parenthood to spend on its mission to promote elective abortions. Cf. Holder, 130 S. Ct. at 2725-26 (because "[m]oney is fungible," First Amendment does not prohibit application of federal material-support statute to individuals who give money to "humanitarian" activities performed by terrorist organizations).
Fifth Circuit Court Judge Jerry Smith, a staunch Republican weirdo loose cannon who has routinely sided with the extreme right, agreed, and granted the Motion to Stay at midnight last night, ruling,
IT IS ORDERED that appellant's motion for stay pending appeal is GRANTED pending further order of this court. This order is entered by a single judge pursuant to FED. R. APP. P. 8(a)(2)(D).
ThinkProgress points out that Smith's conduct is exceedingly weird. He acted alone, instead of in conjunction with two other judges, as is customary in cases like this. He also isn't any higher up on the judicial ladder than the judge whose ruling he overturned, which is sort of a judicial party foul.
Planned Parenthood, ever the scrappy fighter even when it's clear that the deck is stacked against them, plans on announcing their intended response soon.
So why do anti-choice lawmakers continue to deliberately mislead the public about the relationship between Planned Parenthood's abortion services and the other services — family planning, cancer screening, STI testing, and other services — that the organization provides? If the similar nomenclature is such a problem, maybe Planned Parenthood should change the name of its abortion-providing arm from Planned Parenthood to something totally different to prevent future confusion. Uterine Vacancy Creators or Pregnancy B Gone or something explicit and distinct from Planned Parenthood, since anti-abortion legislators and judges have been so successful at feigning ignorance in pushing a vendetta-based agenda.
More on this bullshit as it continues to unfold.