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.
The state’s attorney general, Ken Paxton, said in a statement on Tuesday that Texas would appeal the injunction.
Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, hailed the ruling, calling it a “victory for Texas women.” In a statement, she said, “We will never back down, and we will never stop fighting for our patients.”
Texas became at least the sixth state where federal courts have kept Planned Parenthood eligible for Medicaid reimbursements for nonabortion services; similar efforts have been blocked in Arkansas, Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi and Louisiana, The Associated Press reported.
The decision in Texas preserves what Planned Parenthood said are services that include screening and treatment for breast and cervical cancers, counseling in contraception, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and primary health care services.
In his ruling on Tuesday, Judge Sparks, wrote that the office of inspector general for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission “did not have prima facie of evidence, or even a scintilla of evidence, to conclude the bases of termination” that the Planned Parenthood providers were unqualified.
A videosecretly recorded in April 2015 purported to show Planned Parenthood officials trying to illegally profit from the sale of aborted fetal tissue and discussing the issue with abortion opponents who posed as representatives of a biomedical company.Tags: Abortion, Abortion rights, Texas