Attorneys representing Planned Parenthood filed an emergency lawsuit seeking to stop Texas from implementing Gov. Greg Abbott’s order that would prevent the organization’s affiliates from continuing to provide non-abortion medical services to Medicaid recipients.
The 99-page filing includes a petition for a writ of mandamus and application for a temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) and its top officials from carrying out the order, claiming they failed to provide proper notice of termination.
The highly conservative U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit last year sided with the state of Texas in its long-running battle to defund the healthcare provider by cutting off the organization’s funds from low income and disabled citizens on the federal-state health insurance program.
Following the ruling, Planned Parenthood requested a six-month delay in the order’s implantation, saying otherwise most of the organizations more than 8,000 Medicaid patients would be left without proper medical coverage. HHSC, however, denied that request, citing the Fifth Circuit’s opinion and granting only a “30-day grace period . . . to ensure that current Medicaid clients receiving services at your clinics can be transitioned to new providers.” The organization was also ordered to stop accepting new Medicare patients.
Planned Parenthood called the Feb. 3 deadline “woefully inadequate.”
“Governor Abbott’s attempts to block Medicaid patients from getting care at Planned Parenthood health centers is the latest in a long history of Texas politicians trying to score points with relentless attacks on Planned Parenthood patients. Abbott is not interested in doing what’s best for Texans, and he has made it clear that he will continue to play political games regardless of the cost to the people he was elected to serve,” said Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes Dyana Limon-Mercado. “Abbott wants to distract us from the unmitigated failure of his response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that vaccine distribution in the state has been a disaster. Just this week, in his State of the State address, Abbott refused to declare COVID-19 an emergency while thousands of Texans continue to be infected with the virus. Instead, he focused on cutting off 8,000 Texans from their trusted health care provider. Planned Parenthood won’t back down in this fight and will do everything in its power to ensure that patients have access to health care.”
The case stems from secretly recorded video released by anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress which purported to show that Planned Parenthood was selling fetal tissue for profit. Despite the claims being debunked, pro-life conservatives often still cite the video in attempts to defund Planned Parenthood. Several filmmakers have faced criminal charges; they also have been subjected to massive civil fines.
Read the full filing below.
[image via Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images]
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