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Health

A Texas Court Has Allowed State Officials To Remove Planned Parenthood From Medicaid

Planned Parenthood.jpg
Martin do Nascimento for KUT
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A Texas court ruled Wednesday that state officials can kick Planned Parenthood out of the state's Medicaid program. This decision could affect about 8,000 low-income Texans who rely on the women’s health clinics for medical services.

Last month, a Travis County district court temporarily blocked the state’s effort right before the ban was set to go into effect. The court ruled that "immediate and irreparable harm will result" to Planned Parenthood affiliates if they are stripped of Medicaid funding before they have time to make their case.

On Wednesday, though, Judge Lora J. Livingston — a judge with the 261st District Court of Texas — wrote in her decision letter that the matter should be left up to federal courts and let Texas move forward with its effort to kick Planned Parenthood out.

“This decision is not made lightly,” the judge wrote. “In the light of the ongoing public health crisis, the risks of the individual losing health care and medical attention requires increased attention and scrutiny. The facts underlying the termination in this case give me great pause.”

Dyana Limon-Mercado, the executive director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, said in a statement that this effort is another example of Gov. Greg Abbott “taking away health care access for the most vulnerable Texans,” despite the ongoing public health crisis.

“Planned Parenthood will do everything it can to protect and fight for its patients — since it remains painfully clear that Abbott and his administration will continue to fail Texans in the most devastating ways,” she said.

State officials first tried to remove Planned Parenthood in 2015, citing a highly edited video created by anti-abortion advocates that purported to show clinic officials selling fetal tissue.

In her decision letter, Judge Livingston acknowledged the state’s “motives and merits of the termination of essential health services are hotly contested” and have been controversial.

“The State’s justification for their action has been attacked and there is some evidence that the justification is faulty as it is apparently based solely on a series of discredited and debunked videos,” she wrote.

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