Conservative lawmakers in the state of Texas have been working tirelessly to restrict women’s reproductive rights, but United States District Judge Sam Sparks has just thrown a monkey wrench in their plans.
In December, Texas made a bold move to attempt to defund Planned Parenthood. However, Sparks has just granted an injunction to protect the women’s health organization’s funding, while simultaneously mocking lawmakers’ “evidence” used to justify their agenda.
After the HB2 law was struck down by the Supreme Court last year, the Texas Department of Health and Human Services moved to cut Planned Parenthood's Medicaid funding — which would have affected many of their important services, including HIV and cancer screenings that thousands of low-income patients need access to.
According to Uproxx, Sparks said state health officials “likely acted to disenroll qualified health care providers from Medicaid without cause.”
“Such action would deprive Medicaid patients of their statutory right to obtain health care from their chosen qualified provider,” Sparks, who was appointed by former President George H.W. Bush, reportedly wrote.
Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton promises to appeal Sparks’ ruling while deeming it “disappointing” and against “basic human decency.”
Alas, Paxton clearly has a flawed idea of what "basic human decency" is because stripping vital health care needs from low-income women and their families does not reflect any form of virtue.
In addition to the fact that defunding Planned Parenthood would negatively impact women throughout the state, the justification for doing so stems from the debunked videos from April 2016 that allegedly showed employees trying to sell fetal tissues.
Sparks denounced all of that so-called evidence as pure bologna.
“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. Yet rather than a villain plotting to take over the world, the subject of this case is the State of Texas’ efforts to expel a group of health care providers from a social health care program for families and individuals with limited resources.”
This issue isn’t going away any time soon, but it’s certainly assuring to know that there are officials truly fighting on behalf of the women whose reproductive health rights are constantly being threatened.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Ilana Panich Linsman