Tension has been rising between the Lone Star State and federally funded Planned Parenthood. The Reproductive Health Clinic has agreed to pay the state $1.4 million to settle allegations of fraud, according to a statement from Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott yesterday.
The suit claimed that Planned Parenthood improperly billed the state of Texas for services that were not necessary, not covered by Medicaid or not even rendered — though reproductive services not rendered seems to be precisely at what the state is aiming.
Earlier this month, Texas passed a controversial law despite much publicized opposition that effectively closes all but five of the state’s abortion clinics. The law, among other things, mandates that doctors at these clinics possess hospital-admitting privileges, clinics must be rated as ambulatory surgical centers and requires doctors to personally administer certain medication. Planned Parenthood has threatened to sue.
Abbott, a strongly pro-life Republican running for governor, claims investigators concluded that Planned Parenthood "falsified material information in patients' medical records" in order to get reimbursed.
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However, spokeswomen from Planned Parenthood claim they are paying the state to settle this high-priced dispute “as a practical matter.”
"Continuing this litigation in the hostile environment for women's health would have ensured a lengthy and costly process that would have distracted our energies and required us to share the private medical information of thousands of women," said spokeswoman Rochelle Tafolla.
Longstanding tensions continue to heat up in Texas about the controversial matters of abortion and contraception. Despite this settlement, time will tell if the dispute reaches its boiling point.
Sources: Chicago Tribune