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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A U.S. judge in Austin issued a preliminary injunction on Tuesday halting Texas’ plan to cut Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood, saying the state did not present evidence of a program violation that would warrant termination.

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks said state health officials “likely acted to disenroll qualified health care providers from Medicaid without cause.” He said the preliminary injunction will preserve the court’s ability to render a meaningful decision on the case’s merits.

“Such action would deprive Medicaid patients of their statutory right to obtain health care from their chosen qualified provider,” wrote the judge who was appointed by Republican former President George H.W. Bush.

The reproductive healthcare group has said the threatened funding cut, by terminating Planned Parenthood’s enrollment in the state-funded healthcare system for the poor, could affect nearly 11,000 patients across Texas as they try to access services such as HIV and cancer screenings.

Texas and several other Republican-controlled states have pushed to cut the organization’s funding since an anti-abortion group released videos it said showed Planned Parenthood officials negotiating prices for fetal tissue collected from abortions.

Texas investigated Planned Parenthood over the videos and a grand jury last January cleared it of any wrongdoing. The grand jury indicted two anti-abortion activists who made the videos for document fraud but the charges were dismissed.

The state took no further criminal action against Planned Parenthood after that but has repeated its accusations that the abortion provider may have violated state law.

Planned Parenthood has denied any wrongdoing and sued the anti-abortion activists who made the videos.

Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton said his office would appeal.

“Today’s decision is disappointing and flies in the face of basic human decency,” he said in a statement.

In fiscal 2015, Planned Parenthood affiliates across Texas received about $4.2 million in Medicaid funding, the state’s Health and Human Services Commission said. Planned Parenthood said the amount for 2016 was estimated at around $3 million.

None of the money that the group received went for abortions, plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Texas and the Medicaid defunding plan have said.

Planned Parenthood has 34 health centers in Texas, serving more than 120,000 patients, 11,000 of whom are Medicaid patients, it said.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Grant McCool and James Dalgleish)

IMAGE: Planned Parenthood South Austin Health Center is seen in Austin, Texas, U.S. on June 27, 2016.   REUTERS/Ilana Panich-Linsman/File Photo

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22 responses to “Judge Blocks Texas Plan To Cut Planned Parenthood Medicaid Funds”

  1. Thoughtopsy says:

    Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton flies in the face of basic human decency.

    Sure Ken… what could be worse than allowing 11,000 Texans to have HIV screenings, blood tests and low cost healthcare?

    Or are you just too f**king stupid to realise the PP video was a fraud… and Roe v. Wade is part of US law…? You know… that thing you swore to uphold…

    • dtgraham says:

      You disappoint me my friend. The GOP are against gun restrictions for the insane, Planned Parenthood, LGBT rights, raising the minimum wage, equal gender pay, public education, health care for all, consumer protection, financial fraud protection, labour laws, and they believe that smoking is healthy. In fairness, other than that…..OK.

      You might have clued in from the Republican primary debates.

      Question: “In theory, would you rather defund Planned Parenthood or ISIS?”

      Question: “Describe a romantic evening with Ronald Reagan.”

  2. FireBaron says:

    Oh, and for the record, Sparks is a GOP appointed judge. Many of them still regard the Constitution as more important than the GOP party platform.

    • PrecipitousDrop says:

      Fortunately, judges are still on speaking terms with scientists — and physicians — regardless of who appointed them.

  3. Lynda Groom says:

    Do they have alternative in mind, or is this just the usual nonsense? You can’t just remove access to health care to women without a plan…then again we are talking about Texas republicans.

    • Independent1 says:

      Sadly – Republicans have long since become devoid of any decency (and it’s not just in Texas) Today’s conservatives have no concern whatsoever about throwing people off of healthcare – even knowing the danger doing that creates in many people’s lives (e.g,,people such as diabetics and others who have to be able to afford medications just to keep on living).

      When the GOP got total control of my state (Maine) back in 2010, the very first actions of Paul LePage and his GOP henchman, was to cut the maximum tax rate for the wealthiest in the state, which of course included LePage and many of the legislators; and then they proceeded to throw 72,000 Mainers off Maine’s equivalent of Medicaid in order to cover the tax revenue shortfall that would result from them getting a tax cut. They chose to deliberately endanger tens of thousands of peoples’ lives just so they could keep a few more dollars in their pockets.

      And Paul Ryan has reached the point where he’s not longer trying to figure out a replacement for Obamacare; or even try to explain why the GOP thinks there’s a need to replacing it or give any other explanations. He’s down now to just saying ‘Look, repealing it is just going to set you free’ (or words that that effect). Decency is clearly not a word in the vocabulary of today’s conservatives.

      • dpaano says:

        I’m SOOO glad my parents got me out of Texas when I was 3 months old!!! I was born in San Antonio, and I was raised in California. They must have known ahead of time that this was NOT a healthy place to live!

    • dpaano says:

      Mostly men!

      • Lynda Groom says:

        Bingo! I always wonder do these guys have moms, sisters,daughters or wives? If so those family members mean anything to them?

        • PrecipitousDrop says:

          Of course men like AG Paxton care for their moms, sisters, daughters and wives. (And would not hesitate to expedite a discreet abortion for any one of them.)
          They just don’t give a rip for anyone else’s.

        • dpaano says:

          I wonder what 45 would have done if Ivanka or Tiffany ended up getting raped and pregnant….you can bet he’s have them both down for abortions quickly…..no questions asked! It’s always a problem for “the other people,” but 45 and his administration don’t think about “what if.”

  4. 1Zoe55 says:

    Human decency, sir, requires that we feed the children in our schools a good breakfast, a program that your partners in Congress want to reduce funding to. These people are so worried about the fetus, but once a baby is born they would let it go hungry.

  5. PrecipitousDrop says:

    The misinformed (AKA Fox Fan) thinks that defunding Planned Parenthood wil, somehow, reduce or eliminate abortions when, in reality,

    • dpaano says:

      Is anyone else having problems putting in comments on this site? I’ve been having numerous problems….every time I try to type something, the page flies down to the bottom, and I have to scroll back to find my comment….or it won’t let me delete a word without a big hassle! It’s like someone else has control over my cursor….do you think the GOP has hacked this the NM website?

      • dtgraham says:

        Yes, the page often flies down to the bottom with me too. That’s still a lot better than what used to be. The NM was sometimes simply unusable until Google plug-ins started getting blocked by the website and Firefox hanging scripts were somehow dealt with.

        Still, even now, this website creates more havoc and hell with any browser or computer that I use, than any website on the internet that I know of. The National Memo is completely unique that way.

        • dpaano says:

          Good, I thought maybe I was going bonkers from all the idiotic comments flying on this website. I don’t know WHY we give these trolls the time to air their views (except that it IS a Free Speech thing), but we certainly don’t have to listen to them.

      • Thoughtopsy says:

        I’m currently using Chrome with
        – uBlock (Chrome Ext)
        – Disconnect (Chrome Ext)

        This appears to make it behave exactly right and subtracts all the annoying advertising.

        I also have Quick Javascript Switcher loaded which can turn off Javascript for individual websites and will remember the setting in case they begin using more forceful advertising tactics. Turning this off for the site will block almost everything they could do to fool around with your browser. So far not needed.

        The only issue I have is if I attempt to reply to a comment at the very bottom, the reply box disappears off the bottom of the page despite the scroll bar already being at the bottom. This can be immediately fixed by resizing your browser window slightly. Everything realigns itself.

        Hope that helps. 🙂

  6. PrecipitousDrop says:

    Too many people think that all abortions are provided by Planned Parenthood, and that PP does not provide any other services to its patients.
    Fact is, any physician and most nurse practitioners can — and do — provide first trimester abortions in offices, clinics, and campus health centers every day of the week. The only difference between their work and Planned Parenthood is that PP bills its patients on a sliding scale, based on their ability to pay.
    Defunding Planned Parenthood just reduces or eliminates another resource for poor women to receive routine gynecologic care, cancer screenings, and prescription birth control.
    Like many in the GOP, Texas AG Ken Paxton believes poor people are ‘the enemy’ in The War on Poverty.

  7. dpaano says:

    I LOVE the comment by Attorney Paxton…he wouldn’t know “basic human decency” if it hit him right in the face or kicked him in the ass! It would be against basic human decency to away the services of Planned Parenthood from lower income individuals! They do so much more than abortions, and Planned Parenthood groups do not even actually perform abortions.

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