On Monday, Texas officials announced the state will cut Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood, violating federal law and denying critical reproductive health care to tens of thousands of Texas women.
In a letter to Planned Parenthood’s affiliates in the state, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission Office of the Inspector General Stuart Bowen accused the women’s healthcare provider of no longer capably “performing medical services in a professionally competent, safe, legal, and ethical manner” and announcing the withdrawal of funding for the organization through the state’s Medicaid program. Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) joined Bowen in condemning the organization, citing the false claims of fetal tissue sale on behalf of Planned Parenthood as justification for their exclusion.
A tidal wave of anti-abortion legislation and state and federal investigations have threatened to topple the women’s health care provider in the wake of several surreptitiously recorded “sting” videos released by David Daleidan and the Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion group. The videos were later found to be deceptively-edited and fraudulent. To date, all investigations have found no wrongdoing on the part of Planned Parenthood.
“In every state where this fraudulent smear campaign has been invoked, Planned Parenthood has fought for our patients to continue getting the high-quality, compassionate health care we provide, and in every state we’ve won,” said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA).
According to federal law, Medicaid beneficiaries may obtain services – including family planning – from the provider of their choice. By eliminating Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid funding, states like Texas are willfully limiting access to the healthcare of their citizens’ choosing, providing reasonable grounds to file suit.
Considered one of the most hostile states for reproductive rights, Texas has gutted family planning services statewide, imposing dangerous TRAP laws that have shuttered all but 19 abortion clinics and increased wait times for services of up to 23 days.
“What’s happening today in Texas should be a national scandal,” said Laguens. “It is completely outrageous that Texas officials are using throughly discredited, fraudulent videos to cut women off from preventive health care, including cancer screenings, HIV testing, and birth control. We will fight back against this outrageous, malicious, political attack in Texas with everything we’ve got, and we will protect women’s access to the health care they need and deserve.”