The State of Texas gave Planned Parenthood final notice on Tuesday that it would no longer allow it to participate in the Medicaid program in the Lone Star State. The letter from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) said it was “not qualified to provide medical services in a professionally competent, safe, legal, and ethical manner.” Last year (FY2015) Planned Parenthood affiliates across Texas received $4,223,598.69 in Medicaid funding.
Breitbart Texas reported in October 2015 that the HHSC issued an order banning Planned Parenthood from participating in Medicaid programs. The action was taken by the Office of Inspector General at HHSC after gruesome videos filmed at various Planned Parenthood facilities, including the Gulf Coast office in Texas, were released.
In conjunction with the 2015 HHSC letter, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced his LIFE Initiative program designed to provide even greater protections for children in the womb. The initiative also aims at preventing the sale of baby body parts, according to a statement from the governor’s office obtained by Breitbart Texas. Part of Abbott’s initiative calls for new legislation to be enacted by the next session of the Texas legislature.
The move ends Medicaid participation for Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas and is based on alleged Medicaid violations.
The letter was sent by the Office of Inspector General of the HHSC to Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas/Planned Parenthood of North Texas, Planned Parenthood in San Antonio and Cameron and Willacy Counties, and the Planned Parenthood South Texas Surgical Center.
The OIG writes, “The basis for your termination and the termination of your affiliates stems from an extensive undercover video obtained by the Center for Medical Progress at the Planned Parenthood Gulf Freeway facility in April 2015, which contains evidence that Planned Parenthood violated state and federal law. The evidence arises from detailed discussions with the Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast’s staff.”
The OIG adds, “The unedited video footage indicates that Planned Parenthood follows a policy of agreeing to procure fetal tissue, potentially for valuable consideration, even if it means altering the timing or method of an abortion. These practices violate accepted medical standards, as reflected in federal and state law, and are Medicaid program violations that justify termination.”
According to the Associated Press, Planned Parenthood says it will file a lawsuit to halt the defunding of clinics. They reported that other states–Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Kansas–have had judges deny similar efforts. Roughly 11,000 women in Texas will be denied Medicaid coverage in the state they argue.
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards was reported to have immediately charged that the State of Texas is “a cautionary tale for the rest of the nation.”
As the time the order was first released in October 2015, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said:
Texas has stepped forward and shown its unyielding commitment to both protecting life and providing women’s health services … The gruesome harvesting of baby body parts by Planned Parenthood will not be allowed in Texas and the barbaric practice must be brought to an end. As such, ending the Medicaid participation of Planned Parenthood affiliates in the State of Texas is another step in providing greater access to safe healthcare for women while protecting our most vulnerable – the unborn.
Abbott’s LIFE Initiative calls for the following:
Laws must be changed to (1) make it a felony under Texas law to perform a partial-birth abortion; and (2) make it illegal for abortion doctors to risk a woman’s health by altering the procedure to preserve fetal body parts.
Improve and expand the availability of adoption services; and increase awareness about Texas’ already best-in-the-nation child-support enforcement program, so that young mothers considering how to deal with pregnancy know the father will be held accountable to support his family.
Funding for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers out of taxpayer money must be eliminated completely, both at the State and local levels.
Eliminate and criminalize any sale or transaction of fetal tissue by an abortion clinic for any purpose whatsoever.
A spokesman for the HHSC, Bryan Black told Breitbart Texas that:
State funding for women’s health services has reached an all-time high. Women in Texas can get free or affordable healthcare services statewide through the Healthy Texas Women program. This program offers comprehensive healthcare, including birth control, pregnancy tests, health screenings and treatment for hypertension, diabetes and cholesterol. Also, the Family Planning Program now offers more services, including limited prenatal care. We have expanded the provider network to the largest it has ever been and we will continue working to make sure women all over the state can access family planning and other preventative health services.
This article has been updated to reflect additional information.