Texas to cut Planned Parenthood off from Medicaid

by Jared Lewis December 22, 2016, 0:09

Four years ago, Texas kicked Planned Parenthood's family planning clinics (which do not provide abortion) out of the state's a widely-successful Medicaid waiver program for providing basic health services for the state's poor and uninsured women. Why? Abortion opponents said that the video showed Planned Parenthood officials violating laws against the sale of fetal body parts and against changing abortion procedures to procure intact fetal tissue.

Bowen claimed in the letter that the 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.

"Your misconduct is directly related to whether you are qualified to provide medical services in a professionally competent, safe, legal and ethical manner", Texas Health and Human Services Inspector General Stuart Bowen wrote in the letter.

In October 2015, Planned Parenthood received a notice of intent to remove the organization from Texas's Medicaid program. Planned Parenthood sued the state last October and was allowed to continue its operations. The decision could also be overturned in court, as other states have been told in the past that they cannot legally deprive Planned Parenthood of Medicaid funding, 90 percent of which comes from the federal government.

"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", Governor Greg Abbott, who is anti-abortion, said in a statement, according to the New York Times.

Texas has been looking to completely remove Planned Parenthood from the state's Medicaid program since October of previous year, after undercover videos were released that showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing the use of fetal tissue for research, the Dallas News reported.

Planned Parenthood has 15 days to request a hearing with the state's Department of Health and Human Services to stop the funding cuts from going into effect, according to the Texas Tribune, which received a copy of the filing. Texas Republicans argued that the videos showed Planned Parenthood broke the law.

"Defunding Planned Parenthood could cause an increase in cancer deaths, unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections and HIV", said Cita Walsh, vice president of communications for the Pacific Southwest chapter of Planned Parenthood.

Earlier this year, Texas announced plans to require the burial or cremation of aborted fetal tissue, a move both medical professionals and activists called unnecessary and a burden on women and health service providers.

She said there are plenty of women's health centers in Texas that do not perform abortions and receive low-income patients. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

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