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Appeals Court To Weigh Planned Parenthood's Texas Case

AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — The full 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will reconsider whether Texas can eliminate Planned Parenthood from the state Medicaid program.

The New Orleans-based court's decision Monday comes after a three-judge panel of the court lifted a February 2017 preliminary injunction  that prevented the state from eliminating Planned Parenthood from the program.

No date for the rehearing has been set.

The three appeals judges had agreed that U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks didn't follow proper standards in deciding to impose the injunction sought by five Planned Parenthood affiliates and seven individuals.

The appeals court returned the case to Sparks to determine if the state has cause to end Planned Parenthood's Medicaid participation under the program's rules or if its actions were "arbitrary and capricious."

Planned Parenthood
(credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Texas health officials had accused Planned Parenthood officials of making a misrepresentation to investigators following the release of secretly recorded and heavily edited videos by an anti-abortion group in 2015. An inspector general said the video appeared to show Planned Parenthood had changed how abortions were performed so better specimens could be preserved for medical research.

Planned Parenthood sued to preserve Medicaid coverage for cancer screenings, birth control access and other non-abortion-related health services for nearly 11,000 low-income women at 30 clinics statewide. Sparks ruled that Texas officials had provided no evidence of wrongdoing and that the videos that launched Republican efforts across the U.S. to defund the nation's largest abortion provider were insufficient as evidence.

Investigations by 13 states into those videos have concluded without criminal charges, and Planned Parenthood officials have denied any wrongdoing.

The appeals court ruled, however, that Sparks should give greater weight to state findings on whether Planned Parenthood clinic staff members are "qualified" under Medicaid's medical and ethical standards.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton hailed the ruling.

Planned Parenthood's attorneys asked for a rehearing by the full appeals court.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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