Reproductive Rights

Planned Parenthood Medicaid Cuts Blocked by Texas Judge

Last week, a federal judge in Texas issued an indefinite injunction, essentially ruling that the state cannot bar Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid reimbursements. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton says he plans to appeal the injunction.

The move to deny funding to Planned Parenthood came in 2015 after the release of a fraudulent video series by the so-called Center for Medical Progress (CMP), an anti-abortion group that falsely accused Planned Parenthood of illegally selling fetal tissue.

U.S District Judge Sam Sparks ruled that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission provided no tangible evidence to warrant the funding ban. In his ruling, Judge Sparks wrote “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.”

In January of 2016, a grand jury in Harris County, Texas that was formed to investigate Planned Parenthood over the fraudulent allegations made by CMP ended up clearing Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing, opting instead to criminally indict David Daleiden, director of CMP, for tampering with a governmental record and for purchasing human organs. Those charges against Daleiden and one of his associates were later dropped.

In addition, thirteen state and four Congressional investigations have found no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Planned Parenthood. The House Select Panel investigating abortion providers, which had been abusing Congressional authority and subpoena power to intimidate and threaten doctors and biomedical research professionals for over a year, finally came to an end in January, wasting $1.6 million chasing inflammatory lies.

24 states have attempted to block Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid reimbursements and Republicans in the House have promised to defund Planned Parenthood through their budget reconciliation bill. One in five women of reproductive age receive healthcare through Medicaid. Because of the longstanding Hyde Amendment, no government funds can go towards abortion care, meaning the at-risk funding goes towards pregnancy prevention initiatives as well as STD testing, cancer screenings and pre-natal care.

Media Resources:  The Statesman 2/21/17; NBC News 2/22/2017; The New York Times 2/21/2017; Feminist Majority Foundation 12/2/16, 1/5/17, 1/6/17; Mic 1/9/17

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