In the wake of heavily-edited and misleading “under cover” videos released by the Center for Medical Progress last year, Texas Governor Greg Abbott promised to abolish the $3.1 million in Medicaid funding set aside for Planned Parenthood.
Abbott is now following through on that pledge, and according to the Texas Tribune, Planned Parenthood now has 15 days to request an administrative hearing but will instead turn to the courts to fight against the cuts.
“Planned Parenthood continues to serve Medicaid patients and will seek a preliminary injunction in an ongoing lawsuit filed in November 2015, following the state’s original threats to take action against Planned Parenthood’s patients,” said Yvonne Gutierrez, executive director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes.
From the Tribune:
The battle over the funding Planned Parenthood received for those health services — which are separate from its abortion services that receive no public funds — began in October 2015 when Gov. Greg Abbott and state health officials first moved to cut off Medicaid funding, about 90 percent of which comes from the federal government, to the organization’s Texas affiliates.
Feeding on outrage sparked by the release of controversial undercover videos of Planned Parenthood officials, Republicans cited the videos — and unspecified allegations of billing fraud — as proof of “acts of misconducts” by the organization and said they would cut off Medicaid funding. But the state’s threat initially appeared to be a feint.
After Governor Abbott’s office delivered a notice of intent to the health organization in 2015, a year went by without any action and Planned Parenthood continued to provide services, which included providing easy-access to birth control and cancer screenings to roughly 11,000 low-income women.
In the final notice, Texas Health and Human Services Inspector General Stuart Bowen said the undercover videos — which depicted Planned Parenthood officials discussing the use of fetal tissue for research — showed “that Planned Parenthood violated state and federal law.”
Bowen claimed in the letter that the [Center for Medical Progress’s undercover videos] revealed Planned Parenthood has a history of “deviating from accepted standards” to procure tissue samples for researchers and a “willingness to charge more than the costs incurred for procuring fetal tissue,” among other violations.
How many women will die in Texas because of the GOP's fake news about Planned Parenthood? https://t.co/VMhDHBvzDc
— Steve Silberman (@stevesilberman) December 21, 2016
Planned Parenthood has forcefully denied the claims, saying the videos were selectively edited and purposefully taken out of context. Planned Parenthood facilities in Texas said they do not currently donate fetal tissue for research, but their Houston affiliate said they did participate in a 2010 research study with the University of Texas Medical Branch.
Abbott and other state officials have remained silent in regards to why the termination was delayed for over a year.
Federal officials have warned Texas that nixing Planned Parenthood from the state’s Medicaid program could be a violation of federal law, according to the Texas Tribune. Federal courts in other states have already ruled that the health organization cannot be legally kicked out of Medicaid.