After years of effort, the state of Texas will finally be able to strip abortion giant Planned Parenthood of its state Medicaid funding. In 2015, Texas lawmakers began attempting to remove Planned Parenthood from its Medicaid program, only to face constant legal challenges. But this week, a judge ruled in Texas’ favor, allowing the state to remove the abortion corporation at long last.
On Wednesday, Judge Lora Livingston agreed with state officials that Planned Parenthood was given official notice of termination from the program in 2016. Had Livingston found that the state hadn’t given proper notice, it would have given Planned Parenthood an opening to appeal again. “The law says you have 15 days to request an administrative hearing. Their 15 days came and went. They did not request [an] administrative hearing,” Benjamin Walton, a lawyer representing the state, told the Texas Tribune. “So as a matter of law, their termination was effective. There is no law requiring a re-notice, a reissuance of notice at any point in time.”
Though Livingston made it clear she did not agree with the state’s decision, she nevertheless found that Planned Parenthood had looked for federal courts to “contest the merits of their claims, and they are now not able to revive their administrative remedies as the deadline to seek that relief has long since passed,” Livingston explained in her ruling. “The merits of their claims must be determined by the federal courts.”
However, the judge also sought to discredit the state’s reasoning for defunding Planned Parenthood. “[I]t is alleged that the state sought the terminations for purely political motives and without regard for the health and safety of the patients served by these medical providers,” she wrote, insinuating — as many abortion supporters often do — that Planned Parenthood is a health care provider, as opposed to an abortion business.
Thomas Watkins, a lawyer representing Planned Parenthood, also used this argument during the hearing, saying that Texas “doesn’t care about what happens to the low-income folks, the folks who cannot afford to go to other places, that don’t have insurance, that need to have this kind of care.”
Texas officials sought to remove Planned Parenthood from their Medicaid program after undercover investigators from the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released videos that showed top executives from the abortion corporation haggling over prices for the sale of body parts from preborn babies they had aborted. The undercover videos, which Planned Parenthood has admitted were accurate, were deemed to not be deceptive or fraudulent by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2019, and that the state could move forward with defunding Planned Parenthood. The same court again ruled in Texas’ favor in 2020, with Planned Parenthood given until February 4, 2021, to continue to see Medicaid patients and make referrals to other providers. A last-minute lawsuit gave Planned Parenthood 30 more days — but ultimately, it didn’t matter.
By defunding Planned Parenthood, Texas will save innocent lives from being killed by abortion, while low-income patients can be seen at hundreds of comprehensive health centers located throughout the state. And though its supporters try to argue that women will be stripped of their ability to receive health care because they cannot go to Planned Parenthood, this is not true; Planned Parenthood is not a health care provider. In fact, its annual reports have shown year after year that their health care services are plummeting even as their abortion numbers skyrocket.
Women in Texas aren’t being deprived of health care because Planned Parenthood is being stripped of Medicaid funding. They’re being given the opportunity to receive legitimate health care instead from providers who aren’t looking to profit from abortions.
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