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Texas to Planned Parenthood: No More Medicaid Funds

Planned Parenthood vows to fight back
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 19, 2015 1:40 PM CDT
Texas to Planned Parenthood: No More Medicaid Funds
n this July 28, 2015, file photo, Erica Canaut, center, cheers as she and other anti-abortion activists rally on the steps of the Texas Capitol in Austin, Texas.   (Eric Gay)

Texas announced Monday that it was cutting off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood clinics following undercover videos featuring discussions about fetal tissue, potentially triggering a federal court fight like one unfolding in neighboring Louisiana. Planned Parenthood affiliates statewide were told in a letter they were being cut off because they were potentially "liable, directly or by affiliation, for a series of serious Medicaid program violations" highlighted in the videos. The five-page letter from state health officials said the organization was "no longer capable of performing medical services in a professionally competent, safe, legal, and ethical manner." Planned Parenthood blasted the move in a statement, vowing to "fight back against this outrageous, malicious, political attack in Texas with everything we've got" in order to protect women's access to health care.

Gov. Greg Abbott ordered state health officials to investigate after the secretly filmed videos were released by the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress, which alleges the footage showed that Planned Parenthood illegally sold fetal tissue for profit. Planned Parenthood denied the allegation and called the videos fraudulent. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican presidential candidate, ordered his state to block funding in the wake of the videos, but Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit arguing that Louisiana couldn't end funding for non-abortion services, such as cancer screenings and gynecological exams. On Monday, a federal judge ordered the state to continue providing Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood clinics for 14 more days. A similar fight may be upcoming in Texas, where thousands of women seek care through Medicaid at Planned Parenthood clinics. (Read more Texas stories.)

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