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Texas Kicked Planned Parenthood Out Of Medicaid

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Texas will block about $3 million worth of federal Medicaid funding from the state's Planned Parenthood facilities.

NPR reports that a letter sent by the Texas Health and Human Services Inspector General Stuart Bowen told the reproductive healthcare provider that their funding would be cut off in 30 days unless they requested an administrative hearing within 15 days.

“Your misconduct is directly related to whether you are qualified to provide medical services in a professionally competent, safe, legal and ethical manner,” the letter read, in part.

Bowen’s letter referenced a video taken by undercover anti-abortion activists which allegedly showed a Planned Parenthood employee offering to sell fetal tissue. A grand jury found no evidence to support charges of wrongdoing against the organization, and instead indicted the people who made the video for tampering with a government record and illegally soliciting the purchase of human organs. 

The group said that the health care of 11,000 low-income people would be affected by cutting off Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid funding, reports Reuters 

In a statement, Planned Parenthood Action Fund's president, Cecile Richards, said: "Texas is a cautionary tale for the rest of the nation. ... With this action, the state is doubling down on reckless policies that have been absolutely devastating for women."

There are 34 Planned Parenthood centers in Texas, serving more than 120,000 patients with procedures like cancer screenings, HIV testing, and birth control. 

Other Republican-controlled states have had similar measures overturned by the courts, including Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Kansas, NBC reports,. 

A Texas case made it to the Supreme Court earlier this year over a restriction which would have required abortion providers to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers and required doctors to have admitting privileges to nearby hospitals. The law would have closed all but 10 of Texas’ abortion clinics. The highest court in the land voted 5 to 3 against the restriction. 

Justice Stephen Breyer, who wrote the majority opinion, said that “neither of these provisions offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes. Each places a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a pre-viability abortion, each constitutes an undue burden on abortion access, and each violates the Federal Constitution.”

Texas is also attempting to require that fetal remains be buried or cremated. A federal judge put that requirement on hold in December. 

Sources: NPR, Reuters, NBC (2) / Photo credit: Tamir Kalifa via The Texas Tribune

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