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November 24, 2015

Planned Parenthood Goes to Court in Tex. Over Medicaid Funds

Planned Parenthood filed suit Monday against Texas officials seeking to block federal Medicaid money for the women's health nonprofit, reports The New York Times. The legal challenge is the fifth by the group this year in Republican-led states that have vowed to end such funding since the release in July of undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing fetal-tissue donations.

Texas health officials cited the videos in moving last month to end reimbursements to Planned Parenthood clinics for providing non-abortion health services to low-income women. The organization has denied anti-abortion activists' claims that it profits from selling fetal organs and says the videos were edited to mislead viewers about its provision of tissue for medical research.

Planned Parenthood contends the Texas edict, slated to take effect Dec. 8, violates federal law guaranteeing Medicaid patients the freedom to seek services from the qualified provider of their choice, and that the funding block is politically motivated. The organization has sued over similar bans in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Utah.

Texas officials say the cutoff, like state restrictions on abortion clinics that are also the subject of court battle, is about ensuring women receive safe health care. "Simply stated, Planned Parenthood cannot be trusted," Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said in a statement.