A federal judge in Austin has stopped Texas from banning Planned Parenthood from participating in the Women's Health Program.
Judge Lee Yeakel ruled there is sufficient evidence the state law is unconstitutional. He imposed an injunction against enforcing it until he can hear full arguments.
The law passed last year by the Republican-controlled Legislature forbids state agencies from providing funds to an organization affiliated with abortion providers.
Eight Planned Parenthood clinics that do not provide abortions then sued the state. The clinics say the law unconstitutionally restricts their freedom of speech and association.
Austin’s Planned Parenthood Co-CEO Sarah Wheat says the judge’s decision will have a broad impact on women all over the state.
“Statewide over 100,000 women depend on this program for health care. They get their breast and cervical cancer screenings, their STD tests, HIV tests, birth control through this program,” she said.
Shortly after the ruling came down Monday afternoon, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed an appeal on behalf of the state.
Gov. Rick Perry issued a statement following Monday's ruling saying, “Texas has a long history of protecting life, and we are confident in Attorney General Abbott’s appeal to defend the will of Texans and our state law, which prohibits taxpayer funds from supporting abortion providers and affiliates in the Women’s Health Program. We will continue to work with the Attorney General to pursue all available legal options.”
Judge Yeakel’s injunction is only temporary. The final ruling is slated for mid-May.
Click here to read responses from Democrats on the injunction.
The Associated Press contributed to this report..