By Anna M. Tinsley
Planned Parenthood officials on Wednesday promised to do what they can politically and legally to ensure low-income women in Fort Worth and statewide will be able to receive services from the organization, despite the most recent blow to their state funding.
This pledge comes one day after state officials legally notified the organization that it would no longer get funding from the Texas Medicaid program, a loss of about $3.1 million a year.
The funding is likely to end in about a month, although Planned Parenthood officials plan to seek a preliminary injunction to fight the loss of funding.
“Texans deserve to decide where to receive their healthcare, and for more than 80 years they have counted on Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas for that care,” Ken Lambrecht, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, said in a written statement.
“In the days ahead we will take every step necessary to ensure Medicaid patients can continue to count on Planned Parenthood for quality, accessible healthcare. In the meantime, our doors remain open for everyone, regardless of their income or insurance status, no matter what.”
Abortion has long been a heated topic in Texas as conservative lawmakers have steadily worked through the years to put in place restrictions on clinics and patients alike. More than a year ago, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott pledged to remove the group from the Medicaid program.
At the heart of this week’s ruling, and looming legal battle, is an investigation into an undercover video that determined the group is “not qualified to provide medical services in a professionally competent, safe, legal and ethical manner under the relevant provisions of state and federal law pertaining to Medicaid providers,” according to the legal notice by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s Office of the Inspector General.
The letter states that the video in question was by the Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion rights group. Unedited footage allegedly shows Planned Parenthood employees in Houston discussing ways to “procure fetal tissue … even if it means altering the timing or method of an abortion.”
“Gov. Abbott has made clear that Texas will not subsidize an organization that admits a willingness to alter an abortion procedure in order to profit off the harvesting of baby body parts,” said Clara Matthews, deputy communications director for the governor.