Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fifth Circuit Overturns Ruling Allowing Planned Parenthood In Texas-Funded Women's Health Care

If ever you needed evidence that the federal judiciary is wholly owned by political descendants of Ronald Reagan, here you have it. From an article by Jordan Smith of Austin Chronicle:
Ruling that the district court "gave insufficient attention" to Texas' "authority to subsidize speech of its choosing" within the Women's Health Program, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday overturned the lower court decision that banned the state from blocking Planned Parenthood as a participant in the health program for uninsured women.

The ruling overturns a previous decision by federal district Judge Lee Yeakel, who concluded in May that the state could not block Planned Parenthood clinics from participation in the Women's Health Program, until a trial on the merits of the case – wherein PP argued that the move to block it from the program violates their First Amendment right of free speech and association and Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection under law.

(Bolds original.)

Before I go forward, I want to note as always that none of the tax money involved... none of it... has ever gone for Planned Parenthood's abortion services. And those services make up about 3%... three percent... of Planned Parenthood's total services. The rest are general reproductive health care services, often for indigent women. and they do not even take place in the same clinics, or under the aegis of the same corporation. Planned Parenthood is a lifesaver for millions of women who would never otherwise be attended to in matters of reproductive health. But as the title of a New York Times editorial put it, "In Texas, Don't Even Mention Abortion": because, you know, as the Fifth Circuit ruling says, the great State of Texas has the "authority to subsidize speech of its choosing." According to the Fifth Circuit, you not only have no right to basic reproductive health care... you and your doctor have no right to free speech. Texas can tell your doctor what s/he may or may not tell you. From the NYT editorial:

It is impossible to overstate the callousness of the state regulation and the harm it will inflict. The program serves more than 100,000 uninsured, low-income women, with the federal government paying 90 percent of the roughly $40 million that it costs. The feds are now phasing out support because the rule violates federal law.

The lawsuit against the regulation was brought by nine Planned Parenthood clinics, which operate 49 health centers across Texas. These centers provide basic health services like cancer screening, contraceptive care and other services to more than 40 percent of the women in the program. None of these centers offer abortions because state law has long barred abortion providers and their affiliates from receiving public money.

To comply with that rule, these centers maintain strict legal and financial separation from Planned Parenthood entities that do perform abortions. But the new regulation, adopted this year, says this separation is not sufficient. It defines “affiliate” as any entity that shares a name or trademark with any organization that provides or “promotes” abortion. (In the lexicon of the anti-abortion right, just talking about abortion counts as promoting it.)

So the health clinics are penalized for sharing a name with the clinics that perform abortions. As the NYT editorial put it, "[t]hose activities are entirely legal, and, in any case, none of it applies to the health clinics." This is not merely unfair: there is no intention on the part of the radical religious Right (and Catholicism) that it be fair. This was meant to bolster their already execrable invasion of a woman's right to control her own body. Based on their actions, you have to believe THOSE PEOPLE HATE WOMEN, and they will use the wholly owned federal courts as a bludgeon to deny women the most basic health services... including services at clinics that have nothing whatsoever to do with abortion. Meanwhile, Gov. Goodhair rejected federal funds available for women's health care at a rate of $9 for every $1 spent by the state.

I loathe these people. The mean-spiritedness of such self-proclaimed "Christians" reminds me why I would never call myself Christian, even if I were one. But I need not worry... they wouldn't call me one, either, and I'd correct them if they did.

ADDED... THE USUAL DISCLAIMER:  early in my career I did contract computer work for what is now Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. I am proud of that work as I have seldom been about my otherwise uneventful career. But my statements here are in no way influenced by any Planned Parenthood organization; indeed, I have not been in contact with them since the middle 1980s... except, of course, for my annual contribution.


  1. Back to coat hangers. Doesn't Texas have one of the highest teen pregnancies in the states? What a disaster.

  2. Mother Google tells us (from various sources) that Texas ranks fourth in teen pregnancies this year (2012), improved since last year (2011) when it was third, and improved still more from 2005, when it was first in the nation. That's when GeeDubya was pitching his "abstinence-only" line. You know my response to that: abstinence makes the front grow harder! <grin_duck_run />



• Click here to view existing comments.
• Or enter your new rhyme or reason
in the new comment box here.
• Or click the first Reply link below an existing
comment or reply and type in the
new reply box provided.
• Scrolling manually up and down the page
is also OK.

Static Pages (About, Quotes, etc.)

No Police Like H•lmes