The federal judge said the state did not provide credible evidence that the Planned Parenthood violated medical or ethical standards related to abortion procedures.
A federal judge on Tuesday stopped Texas officials from kicking Planned Parenthood out of the state’s Medicaid program, providing a reprieve that will at least temporarily allow the organization to continue receiving reimbursements for providing non-abortion services to about 10,000 poor residents. U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks said in a 42-page ruling that he was not swayed by the state’s explanation for the eviction – an undercover video that purported to show that Planned Parenthood was illegally selling the organs of aborted fetuses – and would not allow the move until and unless the state provides a better rationale at a full trial.
A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked Texas from cutting off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood, ruling the state had presented no credible evidence to support claims the organization violated medical or ethical standards related to abortion procedures.The ruling, a preliminary injunction issued by Sam Sparks, a United States District Court judge in the Western District of Texas, means that, for now, 30 health centers that serve about 12,500 Medicaid patients can continue to receive funding from the medical program that serves the poor. The case is set to go to trial, where the judge can rule on its merits.
An injunction issued by U.S. District Sam Sparks of Austin comes after he delayed making decision in January and essentially bought Planned Parenthood an extra month in the state’s Medicaid program. … Sparks’ decision preserves what Planned Parenthood says are cancer screenings, birth control access and other health services for nearly 11,000 low-income women at 30 clinics. Texas originally intended to boot Planned Parenthood in January but Sparks told the state to wait pending his ruling. Arkansas, Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi and Louisiana have also had similar efforts blocked.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a prepared statement that he will appeal the decision, which he said “is disappointing and flies in the face of basic human decency.” “Even the remains of the most vicious criminals are treated with respect,” Paxton said. “But the children who never had a chance at life become so-called medical waste or, alternatively, a commodity to be bartered for. No taxpayer in Texas should have to subsidize this repugnant and illegal conduct. We should never lose sight of the fact that, as long as abortion is legal in the United States, the potential for these types of horrors will continue.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and state health officials first moved to cut Medicaid funding last year after controversial undercover videos of Planned Parenthood officials surfaced. Anti-abortion groups claimed the recordings prove the organization is “harvesting” fetal tissue, while Planned Parenthood has denied allegations surrounding the videos.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has vetoed a bill that would have restricted funding for Planned Parenthood clinics. The Democrat vetoed the measure Tuesday during an event outside the executive mansion. He vetoed the same measure last year and said Tuesday it would harm tens of thousands of Virginians who rely on Planned Parenthood.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe has vetoed a bill that would restrict Planned Parenthood from contracting with the state. The bill, sponsored by Del. Benjamin L. Cline, R-Rockbridge, passed the Senate last week on a 20-19 vote. It would prevent the Virginia Department of Health from providing funds to clinics that provide abortion services to women who are not covered by Medicaid.
Lawmakers in several states are considering requirements for doctors to inform women seeking medical abortions about an unproven procedure called “abortion reversal.” Doctors’ groups oppose the bills because of flawed science and ethical concerns. There is no evidence the procedure works and little information about its safety. The procedure involves shots of the hormone progesterone given if a woman changes her mind after the first step of a medical abortion.