A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Texas can't cut off Medicaid dollars to Planned Parenthood over secretly recorded videos taken by anti-abortion activists in 2015 that launched GOP efforts across the US to defund the nation's largest abortion provider. An injunction issued by US District Judge Sam Sparks comes after he delayed making a decision in January, buying Planned Parenthood an extra month in the state's Medicaid program, the AP reports. Texas is now at least the sixth state where federal courts have kept Planned Parenthood eligible for Medicaid reimbursements for non-abortion services, although a bigger question remains over whether President Trump will federally defund the organization.
The decision preserves what Planned Parenthood says are cancer screenings, birth control access, and other health services for nearly 11,000 low-income women at 30 clinics. Texas originally intended to boot Planned Parenthood in January but Sparks told the state to wait pending his ruling. His unsparing opinion excoriated Texas for not providing "any evidence" of wrongdoing and stalling on the ouster for nearly a year. Planned Parenthood serves only a fraction of the 4.3 million people enrolled in Medicaid in Texas, but Sparks said he was not convinced that its clients would quickly and easily be able to find new providers. (Paul Ryan says the GOP will pass a "fast-track" bill to defund the organization.)