Though much attention is directed at defunding Planned Parenthood at the federal level, addressing funding at a state level will be a long road, too.
On Tuesday, a federal judge in Austin halted state plans to address a portion of the state’s Planned Parenthood funding.
A U.S. judge in Austin issued a preliminary injunction on Tuesday halting Texas’ plan to cut Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood, saying the state did not present evidence of a program violation that would warrant termination.
U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks said state health officials “likely acted to disenroll qualified health care providers from Medicaid without cause.” He said the preliminary injunction will preserve the court’s ability to render a meaningful decision on the case’s merits.
“Such action would deprive Medicaid patients of their statutory right to obtain health care from their chosen qualified provider,” wrote the judge who was appointed by Republican former President George H.W. Bush.
A common misconception is that Planned Parenthood is a necessary part of women’s healthcare in the United States. The truth is that comprehensive women’s healthcare clinics (you know, those not vacuuming babies from wombs) outnumber PP locations by 20 to 1. This is not a small thing. PP clinics are the very minor exception, not the rule. But Judge Sparks and others would have you believe otherwise.
The undercover videos from The Center for Medical Progress showing discussion of fetal tissue sales at Planned Parenthood clinics were a major catalyst for this attempted funding cut.
Part of the statement issued by Attorney General Ken Paxton following Tuesday’s decision, emphasis mine.
“Today’s decision is disappointing and flies in the face of basic human decency. The raw, unedited footage from undercover videos exposed a brazen willingness by Planned Parenthood officials to traffic in fetal body parts, as well as manipulate the timing and method of an abortion. Even the remains of the most vicious criminals are treated with respect. 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.”
Attorney General Paxton will be appealing the ruling.
Planned Parenthood and its supporters claim no taxpayer funds are used for abortions. There are two issues with that.
- We can’t know for sure whether they are or aren’t.
- It does not matter if money is directly funding the actual life-ending procedures. Funds supporting an abortion clinic in any capacity should not come from taxpayers.
Hopefully, the state’s appeal will be successful and steps toward defunding all or a portion of PP funding will advance in other states, too.