Abortion mill Planned Parenthood lost a key federal court case on Friday which, according to one major newspaper, means the organization is now a “step closer” to being defunded, in Texas at least.
Almost two years ago, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks issued a preliminary injunction against the state, which prevented it from withholding funds from Planned Parenthood following the release of bombshell undercover videos showing representives of the abortion provider discussing the for-profit sale of aborted fetuses.
However, on Thursday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th District in New Orleans ruled that Judge Sparks didn’t use the correct review standard, so the three-judge panel vacated his 2017 injunction and remanded the case back to his court in Austin, the Washington Post reported.
Crucially, the 5th Circuit ordered that Texas’ decision to defund Planned Parenthood “may only be overturned if it fails to satisfy ‘minimum standards of rationality,'” according to The Associated Press.
Additionally, the appeals court was critical of Sparks for questioning the genuineness of the undercover video from the pro-life group Center for American Progress. The higher court pointed out in its decision that the “district court stated, inaccurately, that the CMP video had not been authenticated and suggested it may have been edited.”
In a footnote attached to the quote, the appeals court noted further that “the record reflects that [The Office of Inspector General] had submitted a report from a forensic firm concluding that the video was authentic and not deceptively edited. And the plaintiffs did not identify any particular omission or addition in the video footage.”
Further, the footnote added that “the district court also suggested that there was no evidence that any of [Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast]’s research was federally funded, so the regulations relied on by OIG might be inapplicable. But the record actually establishes that the [University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston] study was funded by the National Institute of Health.”
Seth Chandler, a law professor at the University of Houston, told the Post that the appeals court ruling is a big problem for Planned Parenthood because Sparks will now have to determine, if he once again rules against Texas, whether the state was “arbitrary and capricious” in deciding to defund the abortion provider.
“I think it’s going to be quite difficult for Planned Parenthood to prevail,” Chandler told the Post.
“The standard the 5th Circuit has set down is one that, given the evidence and the history in this case, and a clear signal from the 5th Circuit in this case, Planned Parenthood is going to be hard-pressed to meet.
“The $3.4 million Planned Parenthood receives from Texas pursuant to the Medicaid program is very likely going to go away,” he said.
The Post added:
Even if Sparks again rules for Planned Parenthood, Chandler said it’s clear from [Judge Edith H.] Jones’ ruling that the 5th Circuit isn’t inclined to do any favors for the health-care provider. Jones, in particular, has openly criticized the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade. In this ruling, she included a graphic photo of bloody fetal tissue that came from the video footage, apparently for dramatic effect, Chandler said.
“There are some signs of hostility to abortion in that opinion,” he added to the paper, “and the 5th Circuit has pretty strongly hinted how it’s going to come out.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton noted after the 5th Circuit’s ruling that “Planned Parenthood’s reprehensible conduct, captured in undercover videos, proves that it is not a ‘qualified’ provider under the Medicaid Act, so we are confident we will ultimately prevail.”
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