A state judge has ruled to temporarily halt the expulsion of Planned Parenthood from the Texas Medicaid program. Planned Parenthood affiliates brought an emergency lawsuit against the order on Wednesday, asserting that the state failed to give proper notice.
The change was set to take effect on Thursday of this week, but the temporary restraining order will give Planned Parenthood an opportunity to await action from the Biden administration, which has vowed to support Planned Parenthood and the expansion of the Medicaid program. The lawsuit is the culmination of a years-long battle between anti-abortion politicians and reproductive health advocates in the state of Texas.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the state in November of last year, decreeing that around 8,000 Texans would lose access to non-abortion health care services provided by Planned Parenthood this week. Even though the Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funding from being used for abortion, except in rare circumstances, anti-abortion proponents argue that any funding from the Medicaid program indirectly supports the abortion care Planned Parenthood provides.
“Texas’s Medicaid ‘defunding’ offers a clear example of how critical it is for the Biden-Harris administration to stop attacks that target the reproductive health care of people with low incomes, women, and people of color,” said Planned Parenthood in a statement.
According to a report from CNN, the Biden administration is expected to release guidance that “states cannot bar Medicaid funds from going to qualified health care providers that also perform abortions or provide related services, such as Planned Parenthood.”
“Make no mistake — forcing Planned Parenthood out of the Texas Medicaid program would have a devastating impact on Texans. And Gov. Abbott knows exactly who he’s hurting — people of color, women, and people with low incomes. Let’s be clear — patients should be able to go to the provider they know and trust regardless of their zip code and income level. Accountability is coming, and we will fight back against any politician who doesn’t prioritize expanding accessible, affordable quality health care,” said Planned Parenthood president Alexis McGill Johnson in a statement after the ruling in November.