Planned Parenthood was handed a major setback on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after a federal judge in Austin said Texas could not enforce a rule banning clinics associated with abortion providers from accepting state funds.
A day after U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel issued an injunction Monday preventing Texas from denying Planned Parenthood funds through the Texas Women's Health Program, Judge Jerry Smith of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the injunction.
Steve Aden, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, praised the 5th Circuit's decision on allowing states such as Texas to withhold taxpayer dollars to organizations that provide abortions.
"Taxpayers should not be forced to pay for abortions," said Aden in a written statement on Tuesday. "The court's decision against the position of Planned Parenthood and the Obama administration again shows that the abortion industry and its political allies are bluffing when they say that states cannot stop taxpayer funding from being used directly or indirectly for abortions.
"The court has done the right thing in upholding the state's right to exclude abortionists from the program, especially ones like Planned Parenthood, which is currently under investigation by Congress for fraud."
The Christian Post attempted to contact Planned Parenthood but did not receive a response prior to publication.
Smith issued his ruling in the midnight hours and gave Planned Parenthood until late Tuesday afternoon to file a response. A three-judge appellate court panel that will include Smith will decide if the order will continue.
The issue began last year when the Texas state legislature passed a law that forbid state agencies from providing funds to any organization affiliated with abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood. Texas already had a law on their books that required groups that received federal or state funding to be legally and financially separate from clinics that performed abortions.
Eight Planned Parenthood clinics that claimed they did not provide abortions sued, saying the law was unconstitutional and restricted their freedom of speech.
Yeakel, who was appointed to the federal bench in 2003 by President George W. Bush, accepted the argument from Planned Parenthood that banning the organization from the program would leave women without access to basic health care services.
"The court is particularly influenced by the potential for immediate loss of access to necessary medial services by several thousand Texas women," Yeakel wrote in his ruling. "The record before the court at this juncture reflects uncertainty as to the continued viability to the Texas Women's Health Program."
Catherine Frazier, a spokesperson for Gov. Rick Perry, indicated the state would pursue all legal options to keep the law intact.
"Texas has a long history of protecting life and we are confident in Attorney General Abbott's appeal to defend the will of Texas and our state law, which prohibits taxpayer funds from supporting abortion providers and affiliates in the Women's Health Program," Frazier said in a statement.