Just three days after Texas officials announced their plan to cut Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood, investigators from the state’s Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) raided a handful of the women’s healthcare provider’s clinics, demanding patients’ records and billing details as well as employee information.
Last week, state officials from the Texas Office of the Inspector General (a division of the HHSC led by Stuart Brown) served subpoenas to Planned Parenthood facilities in Brownsville, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio and ordered to surrender documents – including Medicaid records dating back to 2010 – to authorities within 24 hours. Though it has not been confirmed, local sources report officials are investigating suspicions of misspending of federal Medicaid funds on the part of the women’s healthcare provider.
On Monday, in a letter to Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas, the HHSC and Inspector General Brown (with support from Gov. Greg Abbott) announced the state will cancel contracts between Medicaid and the women’s healthcare provider, accusing the organization of no longer capably “performing medical services in a professionally competent, safe, legal, and ethical manner,” citing surreptitiously recorded videos of Planned Parenthood facilities which falsely claim to depict the trafficking of fetal body parts. Should Texas proceed in withdrawing Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood, the state will not only be in violation of federal law, but it will also cut off access to quality reproductive healthcare to tens of thousands of Texas women.
“Governor Abbott’s political grandstanding is on full display this morning,” said executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes Yvonne Gutierrez Thursday. “Representatives from the Texas Office of Inspector General showed up at Planned Parenthood centers in Brownsville, Houston, Dallas and San Antonio looking for an excuse to take healthcare away from thousands of women and men who rely on Planned Parenthood for preventative care.”
An avalanche of anti-abortion legislation and state and federal investigations has descended on Planned Parenthood since the release of several deceptively edited and repeatedly debunked videos by the anti-abortion group Center of Medical Progress (CMP) and its leader David Daleidan. To date, all investigations – including those carried out in Texas – have found no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Planned Parenthood.
On Thursday, Ken Lambrecht, Capital Region Chief Executive Officer of Planned Parenthood Texas fingered the attacks on Texas clinics as “politically motivated”, dismissing the action as “a fishing expedition.” Officials from the HHSC have declined to comment.
Media Resources: The Guardian 10/22/15; Feminist Newswire 10/28/15;