Texas Planned Parenthood Wins Abortion Funding Injunction
by Steven Ertelt
August 5, 2003
Austin, TX (LifeNews.com) — Six Planned Parenthood abortion businesses can continue performing abortions while they wait for a lawsuit against a Texas measure prohibiting them from receiving family planning tax dollars to be completed.
U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks granted a temporary injunction halting enforcement of the pro-life law.
"The court finds the public interest will certainly be served by allowing the plaintiffs to continue receiving federal funds to provide these crucial services to women throughout Texas," Sparks concluded.
The abortion facilities sued the state in June over a measure in the Texas budget that denies family planning dollars to agencies that perform abortions. Planned Parenthood claims the measure unconstitutionally prohibits women from accessing family planning health services, despite the existence of non-abortion agencies that provide the same services.
"Judge Sparks has never been a friend of the Right to Life movement. His decision to unilaterally thwart the will of the legislature (who speak for the majority of Texans) is no surprise," Texas Right to Life Associated Director Elizabeth Graham told LifeNews.com.
Graham says Planned Parenthood was successful in "judge shopping" to find one who would agree with them.
"The most shocking part is the arrogance of one judge who not only ruled against a majority of the Texas legislators, but Sparks also disregarded case law in which these types of defunding provisions have been found constitutional," Graham added.
Heather Paffe, political director for Planned Parenthood, said she believes Sparks will ultimately overturn the pro-life measure since he granted the injunction.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has 30 days to appeal the ruling. A spokesman for the office said no decision had been made.
Pro-life groups say Planned Parenthood could keep the $13 million in state taxpayer dollars simply by discontinuing abortions.
Kelly Shackelford, chief counsel for the Liberty Legal Institute, said his group strongly disagreed with the decision."Planned Parenthood has no right to force Texas taxpayers to support its efforts to kill the unborn," he said.