Tonight, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit released an opinion in Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Family Planning and Preventative Health Services, Inc. v. Smith, in which the Court reversed the district court’s preliminary injunction preventing Texas from terminating state Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood. The panel’s decision represents a win for pro-lifers and general foes of Planned Parenthood.
The opinion features a graphic depiction of the tissue of an aborted unborn child. But perhaps even more notably, the opinion’s sixth footnote, pertaining to the underlying Center for Medical Progress’s undercover video footage that led Texas to terminate its funding, says the following:
In fact, the record reflects that [the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s Office of Inspector General] had submitted a report from a forensic firm concluding that the video was authentic and not deceptively edited. And the plaintiffs did not identify any particular omission or addition in the video footage. Moreover, the district court also suggested that there was no evidence that any of PPGC’s research was federally funded, so the regulations relied on by OIG might be inapplicable. But the record actually establishes that the UTMB study was funded by the National Institute of Health.
In other words, a federal appellate court has weighed in on the veracity of the infamous Center for Medical Progress videos, over which Center for Medical Progress Founder David Daleiden faced criminal charges in both California and Texas (the latter since dropped), and has concluded that the underlying video in question in this litigation was “not deceptively edited.” The ramifications of this finding in the wider abortion debate and, specifically, in the debates over defunding Planned Parenthood, will potentially be huge. Indeed, pro-lifers on Twitter have already begun celebrating.
There are numerous other quote-worthy portions of the opinion. Here is the opinion’s brutal description of a certain portion of the underlying Center for Medical Progress video, in the context of a candid discussion over the federal ban on partial-birth abortion:
Dr. Nguyen confirmed that the [Planned Parenthood] abortion facility can obtain intact liver and thymus. The doctor stated, sarcastically, that while federal law (prohibiting partial birth abortions) restricts a facility from intentionally retrieving an intact fetus, [Planned Parenthood] can make it happen by signing a form that they did not so “intend.” Nguyen also stated that obtaining intact specimens of liver, thymus, and neural tissue depends upon the amount of cervical dilation of the patient and the patient’s pain tolerance. The doctor noted risks associated with fetal tissue procurement that [Planned Parenthood] is willing to take because “it is for a good cause.” The doctor acknowledged that two particular [Planned Parenthood] doctors can alter the abortion procedure to meet a researcher’s request. Relying on these statements, others like them, and their expert testimony, [the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s Office of Inspector General] sought to justify its termination decision.
The whole opinion is well worth reading. Judge Edith H. Jones and Senior Judge E. Grady Jolly signed onto the opinion. Judge Catharina Haynes was on the panel but concurred only in the judgment.