Texas Moves To Cut Planned Medicaid Funding From Planned Parenthood

Texas has been looking to defund Planned Parenthood for years, and now it looks like they are getting the opportunity. Health officials in the state are moving to stop the nonprofit from receiving Medicaid funds as early as next month.

Planned Parenthood has a rocky history in the state of Texas, which has long been working to shut down as many of the clinics as possible. In 2015, Texas Governor Greg Abbott promised to cut off Planned Parenthood’s $3.1 million in Medicaid funding, stopping the clinics from receiving any more state money at all.

Abbott’s promise came after a video reportedly showed officials from the organization illegally selling fetal tissue. Naturally, the heavily edited videos caused a huge controversy among pro-life supporters, many of whom called for the shutting down of Planned Parenthood offices.

Planned Parenthood responded to Abbott’s promise to defund by filing a lawsuit, seeking an injunction against Texas in October of 2015, according to NPR. After they filed to stop Texas from taking away Medicaid payments, the argument to defund in Texas went silent for nearly a year.

Instead, the state of Texas used other means to restrict funding and access to Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics throughout the state. New legislation was passed that restricted any clinic from performing abortions if they didn’t have expensive surgical center-level facilities, something most clinics within the state were lacking.

That seemed to work well, and abortions were down 15 percent in Texas over the past year, but the Supreme Court struck down the new legislation and made Texas start over again in their effort to run out Planned Parenthood and any other organization that supports abortion services.

New legislation was passed in 2016, and instead of going after treatment centers and making the quality of care standards so high that they become unaffordable, now Texas health officials have passed a mandate that says all fetal tissue must be disposed of using cremation or burial services. While they have argued that the cost of disposing of fetal tissue by this means was the responsibility of the clinic, common sense says that the cost will be passed on to the patient and again will make abortions too costly for many low-income women.

Now, access to Planned Parenthood will become even more of an obstacle for low-income women because Texas health officials have made another move to cut off Medicaid funding. Not only will that stop many women from seeking services from the clinics, but it will also likely financially cripple Planned Parenthood offices in Texas, causing many to shut down.

According to MIC, once Texas defunds Planned Parenthood, the move will not only make it much harder to get an abortion in the state but will also leave many low-income women without access to life-saving services like cancer screenings and routine care. It will also make it harder for women to have access to low-cost options for birth control.

Not long after Texas initially made plans to cut Medicaid funds for Planned Parenthood in 2015, the Texas Policy Evaluation Project reported that at least 100,000 women in Texas have attempted to self-induce abortions, proving that taking away access to abortion clinics will not stop women from getting them. Instead, it could put these women at risk for health complications and death as they desperately try to end pregnancies by themselves rather than seeking the help of clinics like Planned Parenthood.

[Featured Image by LM Otero/AP Images]