Newsbreak

Texas judge gives extension to Planned Parenthood over Medicaid defunding

Supreme Court, abortion, Alabama

A Texas district judge has extended the temporary order blocking Texas from removing Medicaid funding from Planned Parenthood for another 14 days.

Earlier this month, Planned Parenthood was given 30 days, as opposed to the six months it requested, to allow its Medicaid patients to secure other providers. The recent snowstorm delayed the ruling that was scheduled for February 17, according to The Texan.

Planned Parenthood alleges that the state failed to follow protocol in removing the corporation from the Medicaid program, which requires reasonable notice of termination from Medicaid and the chance to have a hearing in court.

State District Judge Lora Livingston said the new 14-day extension allows her the time to decide if Texas can end Planned Parenthood’s participation in the Medicaid program as well as if Planned Parenthood can continue to receive Medicaid funding while it exhausts all of its available means to appeal.

READ: Yes, cutting abortion businesses from Texas’ Medicaid program will save lives

Texas began the process of removing Planned Parenthood from its Medicaid program in 2015 after top Planned Parenthood officials were seen in undercover videos participating in the illegal sales of fetal body parts from babies they had aborted. In 2017, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks ruled that the abortion corporation would remain in the Medicaid program, claiming the undercover videos — which at least one Planned Parenthood executive admitted were accurate — showed no proof of illegal activity. Texas appealed that ruling and ultimately, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the state’s favor in November 2020.

Planned Parenthood was given until February 4, 2021, to continue to see its patients who use Medicaid, but the abortion giant sued the state at the last minute and was awarded 30 more days to receive Medicaid funding. Judge Livingston said she needed 14 days to weed through the paperwork. Attorney for the state, Ben Walton, said the new deadline extension could push the temporary restraining order beyond the allowed timeframe.

He argued that if Planned Parenthood had wanted to pursue administrative appeals it had to have done so by January 2017, but did not. He called the time extensions granted by the courts a “timeout” in the process of removing Planned Parenthood from Medicaid.

“When you come back from a timeout, you go back to where you were,” he told Livingston. “It did not reset the clock. It did not reset the scoreboard.”

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