Rick Perry's War on Planned Parenthood Suffers Setback (UPDATED)

A federal judge has put a hold on Governor Perry's war on Planned Parenthood, in part because he doesn't believe Texas will keep Perry's promise to make up for lost federal funding.

Texas, of course, has banned Planned Parenthood clinics from receiving Women's Health Program funds, beginning tomorrow, since some PP clinics offer abortion services.

As a result, the federal government says it can no longer send Medicaid funds to the WHP because the new law violates the feds' guidelines.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Yeakel, who is hearing Planned Parenthood's suit against the state, ruled today the new law cannot go into effect tomorrow.

"The record demonstrates that plaintiffs currently provide a critical component of Texas' family-planning services to low-income women," he wrote. "The court is unconvinced that Texas will be able to find substitute providers for these women in the immediate future, despite its stated intention to do so....The current record gives the court no comfort that funds are or will be available to continue the program after the phase out of federal funds."

A full hearing on the case is scheduled for May 18.

Perry's office has yet to issue a statement on the decision. We'll update when they do.

Update: Here's the statement.

Texas has a long history of protecting life, and we are confident in Attorney General Abbott's appeal to defend the will of Texans and our state law, which prohibits taxpayer funds from supporting abortion providers and affiliates in the Women's Health Program. We will continue to work with the Attorney General to pursue all available legal options.

Update II: And the conservative 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals giveth back what the trial court had taketh, granting a stay so that Texas can continue to exclude PP from the WHP.

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Richard Connelly
Contact: Richard Connelly