Judge Temporarily Blocks Texas From Withholding Medicaid Funding to Planned Parenthood

February 4, 2021 Updated: February 4, 2021

A Texas judge has temporarily blocked the state from excluding Planned Parenthood and its affiliates from its Medicaid program, the organization stated.

The temporary restraining order, issued by a Travis County judge, was granted after Planned Parenthood affiliates filed an emergency request to the state court on Feb. 3 to prevent Texas from going through with its decision to withhold federal funding to Planned Parenthood clinics, which provide wider access to abortion, birth control, and other procedures.

Texas had previously given Medicaid recipients using Planned Parenthood a Feb. 3 deadline to find new health care providers. Planned Parenthood challenged that in its recent lawsuit, which argued that the state didn’t follow the law when it issued a 30-day notice of termination to the organization, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

“For now, if courts don’t immediately step in to block Abbott’s harmful order, 8,000 Texans with low incomes could lose access to critical, life-saving health care,” the organization argued in a statement.

Judge Maya Guerra Gamble has set a Feb. 17 hearing to decide on whether a temporary injunction is necessary to keep the organization in Medicaid, the Statesman reported.

The Texas attorney general’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.

This is the latest action in a continuing battle between the state and the organization that seeks to ensure that abortions are readily accessible to pregnant women.

In November 2020, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Texas and Louisiana could withhold taxpayer funds from Planned Parenthood clinics.

At the time, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton welcomed the ruling, saying that the appeals court “correctly rejected Planned Parenthood’s efforts to prevent Texas from excluding them from the state’s Medicaid program.”

“Undercover video plainly showed Planned Parenthood admitting to morally bankrupt and unlawful conduct, including violations of federal law by manipulating the timing and methods of abortions to obtain fetal tissue for their own research,” he said.

He added that the organization is not a “qualified” provider under the Medicaid Act, and shouldn’t receive funding through the state’s Medicaid program.

The organization was previously the subject of a scandal after the nonprofit Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released covertly shot videos of their undercover investigation, which showed Planned Parenthood executives discussing the practice of providing body parts of aborted babies for research. The organizations have disputed the claims.

The disputes between the two organizations are ongoing.

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