A Texas judge ruled Wednesday that the state may remove Planned Parenthood from its Medicaid program.
A number of Planned Parenthood affiliates sued the state in February for trying to bar the abortion provider from Medicaid, CNN reported.
The Hyde Amendment prevents Medicaid funding from covering abortions except in cases of rape, incest or if the mother’s life is in danger.
“This decision is not made lightly,” Travis County District Court Judge Lora Livingston wrote in her ruling.
“In the light of the ongoing public health crisis, the risks of the individual losing health care and medical attention requires increased attention and scrutiny. The facts underlying the termination in this case give me great pause.”
Planned Parenthood president Alexis McGill Johnson condemned the move in a Wednesday statement, accusing Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott of putting “politics before the people he was elected to serve.”
Abbott’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The ruling is part of a contentious, yearslong fight between Texas and Planned Parenthood.
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission announced in 2015 that it intended to end its Medicaid agreements with five Planned Parenthood groups after pro-life activist David Daleiden posed as a fetal tissue procurer and secretly recorded and published videos of Planned Parenthood employees discussing the sale of fetal body parts.
Planned Parenthood said the videos were deceptively edited and sued both Daleiden and his Center for Medical Progress in March 2016.
Texas officials said in 2017 that Planned Parenthood clinicians had expressed “willingness” to profit from the alleged fetal tissue deals shown in Daleiden’s videos, but a federal judge said later that year that there was no proof that Planned Parenthood had violated any ethical or medical standards.
The judge ruled that Texas couldn’t withhold Medicaid funding from Planned Parenthood.
A U.S. appeals court ruled in November that both Texas and Louisiana could exclude Planned Parenthood clinics from Medicaid funding, reversing the earlier appellate ruling that had blocked Texas from enforcing its ban.
George W. Bush appointee Judge Priscilla Owen said in the 2020 ruling that the state had determined that Planned Parenthood was not qualified to receive Medicaid funding and that Planned Parenthood affiliates had not been able to contest this.
In December, Texas Planned Parenthood affiliates asked the state to allow them to remain in the program for a six-month “grace period.”
The state health commission denied this request in January and barred the Planned Parenthood affiliates from accepting new patients in the Medicaid program.
The state commission did give the affiliates a 30-day grace period to move patients to new providers, however.
That grace period ended in February and the affiliates filed an emergency lawsuit the day before it ended.
Planned Parenthood said the commission did not give “a proper notice of termination” from Medicaid, and a Texas county judge had temporarily blocked the affiliates from being booted from the program.
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