Texas will no longer send $3.1 million of Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood, according to a letter sent to the organization.
The letter, from Texas Health and Human Services Commission Inspector General Stuart Bowen, gave Planned Parenthood 30 days’ notice before the state shuts off funding.
In the Dec. 21 letter, Bowen cited the undercover videos filmed by the Center for Medical Progress, “which contain evidence that Planned Parenthood violated state and federal law” by tailoring abortion procedures to leave babies as intact as possible and selling baby body parts for profit.
“Your willingness to engage in these practices violates generally accepted medical standards, and thus you are not qualified to provide medical services in a professionally competent, safe, legal, and ethical manner,” Bowen said.
In a statement, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund denied allegations that the organization sold baby parts for profit and called the videos “heavily edited and thoroughly discredited.”
“Planned Parenthood never has and never would sell fetal tissue for profit,” the statement read. “The state of Texas is once again recycling these false accusations as the basis for today’s actions.”
But the state’s notice also cited information provided by the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, which referred Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast for to the Texas attorney general for criminal prosecution earlier this month.
National Right to Life’s Randall O’Bannon told me Planned Parenthood’s “unflagging” attachment to the abortion industry is to blame for Texas’ push to defund it.
“They have shown that they’re willing to sacrifice whatever legitimate medical services they are supposed to offer so that they can continue building their abortion empire and further increase their market share in the abortion industry,” he said. “It’s why abortion has held steady at Planned Parenthood while other services there have fallen, even while abortions were dropping elsewhere in the country.”
Texas lawmakers have been working for years to redirect state money away from Planned Parenthood. The organization received $27 million of state funding in 2010. This year, it was down to $3 million in Medicaid funding.
The biggest hit to Planned Parenthood’s income came in 2011 when the legislature removed the organization from its Medicaid Women’s Health Program, a federal program that poured $35 million into Texas every year. The Obama administration responded by cutting Texas out of the program, and then-Gov. Rick Perry countered with a promise to float the program with state money.
The program is now called the Texas Women’s Health Program, and it’s entirely state-funded.
Defunding Planned Parenthood at the state level doesn’t always work. Several states—including Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi—defunded Planned Parenthood only to have a federal judge block their laws.
A few states such as Ohio, Wisconsin, and Tennessee have successfully redirected funding to other health centers that don’t provide abortions.
In January, a new Health and Human Services mandate will block all states from stripping Planned Parenthood of Title X funding.
Texas Alliance for Life’s executive director Joe Pojman told me the Obama administration’s rules barring states from directing tax dollars away from an entity based on whether it performs abortions are flawed.
“Hopefully under the Trump administration, that will be rectified,” he said. “In the meantime, it’s very clear that Texas should be able to exclude providers who violate state and federal laws.”
Planned Parenthood has vowed to fight the decision, but Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he “stands ready to defend any challenge by Planned Parenthood to their termination.”
— by Samantha Gobba