Texas and Planned Parenthood Go Another Round

ABORTION | The state is facing delays in removing the abortion giant from its Medicaid program

by Leah Hickman for World – wng.org

Associated Press/Photo by LM Otero (file)

A district court on Wednesday temporarily stopped Texas from dropping abortion provider Planned Parenthood from its Medicaid program a day before the removal was to take effect.

After years of court battles, a panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in November 2020 that the Texas government could remove the abortion giant from its state-funded healthcare program at its own discretion. According to the ruling, women using Medicaid can’t sue a state for disqualifying a healthcare provider. This reversed a lower court’s ruling in 2017 that blocked Texas from following through on an earlier promise to cut Planned Parenthood from Medicaid.

In January, Texas’ Health and Human Services Commission delayed Planned Parenthood’s cut-off date to Feb. 3 so its Medicaid patients could find new providers. Planned Parenthood complained that it wasn’t enough time and filed an emergency lawsuit that day, saying the state hadn’t provided proper notice of termination. Wednesday’s latest court order keeps the abortion giant in the program until Feb. 17, the scheduled date for another hearing on the case.

Texas moved to defund Planned Parenthood in 2015 after pro-life activist David Daleiden released undercover videos of the company’s executives discussing the strategic removal and sale of aborted baby body parts. That October, the state announced it would kick Planned Parenthood out of Texas’ Medicaid reimbursement program, citing the comments in the videos.

But the rift between Texas and the abortion giant goes back further. In 2013, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast paid $1.4 million to the federal government, the state of Texas, and a former Planned Parenthood employee to settle accusations of Medicaid fraud. A state investigation found that Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast had improperly billed Texas’ Medicaid for services it never performed or that the program did not cover.

Pro-life groups expect this latest fight over Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid funding to wind up at the Supreme Court. November’s ruling was the seventh time federal circuit courts had weighed in on whether Medicaid patients can sue states for disqualifying certain providers. Since two ruled in favor of the states and five against, it’s up to the nation’s highest court to settle the issue.

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