By Jon Herskovitz
AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Texas plans to block about $ 3 million in Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood operations in the state, a legal document obtained Wednesday showed, a move the reproductive health group said could affect nearly 11,000 low-income people.
Planned Parenthood said it would seek judicial help to block the suspension of funding, which would reduce cancer screenings, birth control, HIV testing and other programs.
Planned Parenthood receives about $ 500 million annually in federal funding, primarily in reimbursements through Medicaid, which provides health coverage to millions of low-income Americans.
Texas and several other Republican-controlled states have tried to cut funding for the organization after an anti-abortion group released videos last year that it said showed Planned Parenthood officials negotiating prices for fetal tissues from the abortions it performs. .
Texas sent a notice to Planned Parenthood in the state on Tuesday to alert it to the funding cut, the document showed, saying the basis for the termination was the videos.
Planned Parenthood has denied the wrongdoing, saying the videos were heavily edited and that it does not benefit from the fetal tissue donation. He has challenged similar defunding efforts in other states, calling them politically motivated.
He added that past funding cuts in Texas have had devastating effects on the health care of poor residents, and the state rarely fills the gap for lost services.
“Texas is a warning to the rest of the nation,” Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said in a statement. “With this action, the state is doubling down on reckless policies that have been absolutely devastating for women.”
Republican President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to withdraw funding for Planned Parenthood, and at least 14 states have tried to pass laws or take administrative action to prevent the organization from receiving federal Title X funds.
The state investigated Planned Parenthood about the videos and a grand jury in January cleared it of any wrongdoing.
The state took no further criminal action against Planned Parenthood after that, but has repeated its allegations that the abortion provider may have violated state law.
“Governor Abbott has made it clear that Texas will not fund an organization that admits its willingness to alter an abortion procedure to benefit from the removal of body parts from a baby,” his office said in a statement Wednesday.
Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said politicians in Texas “are once again recycling these false accusations, regardless of how many women they have hurt in the process.”
Planned Parenthood has 34 health centers in Texas, serving more than 120,000 patients, 11,000 of whom are Medicaid patients, he said.
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