A judge on Wednesday sided with pro-lifers and Texas officials when she ruled the state followed the law in withdrawing Medicaid funding from Planned Parenthood.
The ruling by State District Judge Lora Livingston – the second such ruling by a court in the last five months – gave the green light for Texas to defund Planned Parenthood, although the abortion giant could appeal.
Planned Parenthood had argued that Texas did not give it the necessary notice as required by law. Livingston, though, disagreed.
“This decision is not made lightly,” Livingston wrote, according to The Hill. “In the light of the ongoing public health crisis, the risks of the individual losing health care and medical attention requires increased attention and scrutiny. The facts underlying the termination in this case give me great pause.”
“Relators selected the federal courts as the forum 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 added. “The merits of their claims must be determined by the federal courts.”
Last November, Planned Parenthood lost in federal court when the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Texas and Louisiana could pull Medicaid funding from the organization.
The controversy in Texas over funding began in 2015, when the pro-life Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released a video showing representatives of a Texas Planned Parenthood discussing organ harvesting of fetal tissue. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called the video “repulsive and unconscionable.” The state then told Planned Parenthood it was terminating the Medicaid agreement, and Planned Parenthood sued.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton last year said Planned Parenthood should be defunded.
“Undercover video plainly showed Planned Parenthood admitting to morally bankrupt and unlawful conduct, including violations of federal law by manipulating the timing and methods of abortions to obtain fetal tissue for their own research,” Paxton said. “Planned Parenthood is not a ‘qualified’ provider under the Medicaid Act, and it should not receive public funding through the Medicaid program.”
Jennifer Allmon, executive director of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, said in January that Texas women have better options than Planned Parenthood.
“There are hundreds of providers throughout the state of Texas willing to serve poor women with authentic healthcare services that are not also peddling abortion,” she told Catholic News Agency. “The Texas Pregnancy Care Network has a list of such providers throughout the state and if these providers do not accept Medicaid, they can make referrals to life-affirming Medicaid providers who can offer genuine healthcare to women in need.”
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.