Lawyers for Planned Parenthood filed an application for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction late Friday night asking the judge in the litigation over Medicaid cuts to prevent Texas from defunding Medicaid to the abortion provider. Officials in Texas took action after gruesome videos filmed at various Planned Parenthood facilities, including the mega-abortion facility in Houston, Texas were released.
Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas received $4,223,598.69 in Medicaid funding in FY2015. The move ends Medicaid participation for Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas and is based on stated Medicaid violations.
As reported by Breitbart Texas on December 20, Texas officials sent Planned Parenthood final notice that it would no longer allow it to participate in the Medicaid program in the state. The basis was that Planned Parenthood was “not qualified to provide medical services in a professionally competent, safe, legal, and ethical manner,” said the letter from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). In October 2015, the HHSC issued an order banning Planned Parenthood from participating in Medicaid programs, as reported by Breitbart Texas.
The OIG said the basis for the termination “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.”
Breitbart News reported on August 4, 2015, that “A video just released by the Center for Medical Progress taken undercover in Texas shows a Planned Parenthood research director discussing the sale of whole intact aborted babies to a company that resells them to medical researchers.” The video was of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast’s Director of Research Melissa Farrell. One of the claims that Farrell makes on the tape is that PPGC in Houston has more revenue from research proceeds than all the other Planned Parenthood facilities combined.
The OIG adds in his letter about the halt of the Medicaid funding, “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.”
The December 2015 letter by the Office of Inspector General of the HHSC was sent 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.
A spokesman for the HHSC, Bryan Black told Breitbart Texas after the final notice letter was sent 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.
Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Family Planned and Preventative Health Services, et al. filed the lawsuit on November 23, 2015. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit include Texas’ huge abortion facility in Houston – Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, as well as Planned Parenthood providers in South Texas, San Antonio, and Cameron County. There are also 10 “Jane Doe” plaintiffs who have sued on behalf of themselves and as a representative of a class of Texas Medicaid beneficiaries who obtain, or who seek to obtain, covered health care services at these various facilities.
The abortion providers urge in their application that: they have shown a likelihood of success on the merits; they will suffer irreparable harm if an injunction is not issued; and the balance of harms and the public interest weigh in favor of granting the preliminary injunction. These elements must be met in order to obtain a preliminary injunction under federal law.
The case is pending before U.S. District Court Judge Sam Sparks in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division. A hearing has been set for January 17 at 9 a.m.