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Judge allows Texas to remove Planned Parenthood from Medicaid program

Judge allows Texas to remove Planned Parenthood from Medicaid program

Planned Parenthood South Austin Health Center is seen following the U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a Texas law requiring abortion clinics to meet basic health and safety standards, Austin, Texas, June 27, 2016. | Reuters/Ilana Panich-Linsman

A judge has issued an order allowing Texas to remove Planned Parenthood from the state Medicaid program, preventing the abortion provider from getting an injunction.

State District Judge Lora Livingston of Travis County issued an order on Wednesday, blocking the injunction request, arguing that Planned Parenthood should pursue action through federal courts.

“This decision is not made lightly. In the light of the ongoing public health crisis, the risks of the individual losing healthcare and medical attention requires increased attention and scrutiny,” wrote Livingston, as reported by the Austin-American Statesman.

Jennifer Allmon, executive director of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, said in a statement approving of the removal that Texans already have better options for healthcare.

“There are hundreds of providers throughout the state of Texas willing to serve poor women with authentic healthcare services that are not also peddling abortion,” stated Allmon, as reported by Life News.

“The Texas Pregnancy Care Network has a list of such providers throughout the state and if these providers do not accept Medicaid, they can make referrals to life-affirming Medicaid providers who can offer genuine healthcare to women in need.”

Dyana Limon-Mercado, the executive director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, denounced Texas’ removal of Planned Parenthood from Medicaid as harming “healthcare [abortion] access for the most vulnerable Texans.”

“Planned Parenthood will do everything it can to protect and fight for its patients — since it remains painfully clear that [Texas Gov. Greg] Abbott and his administration will continue to fail Texans in the most devastating ways,” stated Limon-Mercado, as reported by NPR affiliate KUT.

Last November, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an en banc ruling that said Texas and Louisiana could cut off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood.

Overturning an earlier panel opinion, the majority concluded that the law “does not give Medicaid patients the right to challenge a state’s determination that a particular Medicaid provider is unqualified.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a supporter of his state’s Planned Parenthood Medicaid ban, released a statement last year approving of the Fifth Circuit's ruling.

“Planned Parenthood is not a ‘qualified’ provider under the Medicaid Act, and it should not receive public funding through the Medicaid program,” he stated.

However, last month, Judge Maya Guerra Gamble had temporarily blocked Texas from removing Planned Parenthood from its Medicaid program, arguing that the abortion provider deserved more time to make their case.

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