Texas Moves To Block Medicaid Funding For Planned Parenthood

The decision affects 11,000 low-income Texans.
Texas has moved to block Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood within 30 days.
Texas has moved to block Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood within 30 days.

Texas officials said they will block the women’s health care provider Planned Parenthood from Medicaid funding in 30 days, fulfilling a threat made more than a year ago. 

The move, announced Tuesday by a state Health and Human Services official, will affect about 11,000 Texans who rely on the government’s health care service for low-income Americans, The New York Times reported. Planned Parenthood is set to lose about $4 million in annual funding when the Texas termination takes effect.

“Texans expect that when taxpayer dollars are granted to health care providers, it is only to those who demonstrate that the health and safety of their patients come before a profit motive that puts women at greater risk,” Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said in a statement Tuesday.

Planned Parenthood has 15 days to file an administrative appeal. The group said it would seek to block the state’s move in court, according to The Texas Tribune.

The notice is the final step in an 18-month legal battle between Planned Parenthood and the state government. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission said in October it planned to end Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid contract after a series of doctored sting videos were released by an anti-abortion group that purported to show Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of fetal tissue.

Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit at the time seeking an injunction to block the threatened state action. This year, a grand jury found no evidence of wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood employees and instead indicted the anti-abortion activists who made the videos (the charges were later dismissed).

Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, on Wednesday condemned the Texas move on Medicaid funding, calling it a precedent that could lead to “nothing less than a national health care disaster” on Twitter.

The group said it will continue to provide health care services in Texas. Most Planned Parenthood clinics in the state don’t provide abortion services, NPR reported.

The group has seen an unprecedented surge in donations following the election of Donald Trump and Mike Pence, who have both promised to dramatically roll back access to abortion. Planned Parenthood said this month it has received more than 82,000 donations in the name of Pence this year.