A Federal Judge Blocked Texas From Attempting To Defund Planned Parenthood

Photo: Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket/Getty Images.
On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled to block Texas from withholding Medicaid funds from Planned Parenthood over heavily doctored video footage taken by anti-abortion activists that claimed that the health care provider sold fetal tissue.
The footage, which was circulated in 2015, sparked Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood across the U.S. However, the Associated Press reports that U.S. District Court Judge Sam Sparks of Austin, Texas, ruled that the footage fails to offer sufficient evidence for why Planned Parenthood should lose funding.
"A secretly recorded video, fake names, a grand jury indictment, congressional investigations — these are the building blocks of a best-selling novel rather than a case concerning the interplay of federal and state authority through the Medicaid program," Sparks wrote, according to the AP. "Yet, rather than a villain plotting to take over the world, the subject of this case is the State of Texas's efforts to expel a group of health care providers from a social health care program for families and individuals with limited resources."
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Sparks's decision would preserve the many health services Planned Parenthood helps provide to low-income individuals, such as cancer screenings and birth control access. According to the AP, over 4 million Texans rely on Medicaid, and even though only a small fraction of them are Planned Parenthood patients, Sparks ruled that it would be difficult for those patients to find care elsewhere.
The ruling marks a step in a more positive direction for the fight for reproductive rights. Since the election, many have been concerned over what will happen to their rights, and with the GOP's recent steps towards defunding Planned Parenthood across the U.S. as well as steps to hinder abortion access, things have been looking pretty bleak. However, Sparks's decision is a stance that will hopefully set a precedent for protections for reproductive health care.
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