Texas State Judge Rules the State Can End Planned Parenthood’s Participation in Medicaid

Texas State Judge Rules the State Can End Planned Parenthood's Participation in Medicaid

(RightWing.org) – After years of intense wrangling, Texas finally got its wish to sever Planned Parenthood from its state Medicaid program. The long journey began in 2015 when Planned Parenthood of Houston got caught illegally changing procedures to make it easier to acquire and sell fetal tissue to researchers. In 2016, the state issued a notice of termination, which resulted in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision to side with Texas — agreeing that taxpayer funds could be withheld from Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas.

Planned Parenthood sued in state court, arguing that Texas violated a specific protocol. However, Texas state Judge Lora Livingston disagreed and added that the federal court already decided the matter.

Planned Parenthood Sues Claiming Texas Didn’t Provide a Proper Termination Notice

After the 5th Circuit’s ruling, Texas informed the controversial organization that it had 30 days to notify patients they needed to find new doctors. In February, Judge Livingston agreed to grant a temporary restraining order after Planned Parenthood alleged the state didn’t provide a “proper termination notice.”

However, an attorney for the state told the court that a notice of termination was provided in 2016, and all ongoing communication was informal to discuss the next steps. When the notice was provided in 2016, the organization had 15 days to request an administrative hearing, and it did not file one. The lawyer added that there is no law requiring a re-notice or re-issuance of the notice at any point after the original was provided.

Judge Livingston agreed with Texas’ argument. She said that Planned Parenthood failed to demonstrate its case that the state didn’t provide proper notice as prescribed by law. Because it did not file a remedy in time, the federal courts would not hear the case further, and therefore she sided with Texas.

The judge’s decision went into effect on Thursday, March 11.

Planned Parenthood said roughly 8,000 Medicaid patients receive services for contraception, breast, cervical cancer screenings, and sexually transmitted disease testings. All these services can be provided by a family doctor enrolled in the Medicaid program.

Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst

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