The Office of Inspector General at Texas Health and Human Services Commission released a letter on Monday informing the state's three Planned Parenthood affiliates that they would no longer be eligible to receive Medicaid funds, a response to secretly recorded videos released earlier this year by the anti-abortion group the Center for Medical Progress. "The state has determined that you and your Planned Parenthood affiliates are no longer capable of performing medical services in a professionally competent, safe, legal, and ethical manner," the letter reads.
As the Texas Observer noted on Monday, the state's investigation into Planned Parenthood's participation in fetal tissue donation programs is still ongoing, and no charges—civil or criminal—have been filed. Five other investigations into the provider, both at the state and federal level, have closed without finding any wrongdoing.
If the move stands—similar efforts have been blocked by the courts in Indiana and Arizona and Louisiana's push to defund Planned Parenthood is currently being blocked by a temporary restraining order, for one thing—an estimated 13,000 Medicaid patients who receive care from Planned Parenthood's Texas affiliates will have to find a new provider.
And that's an increasingly difficult thing to do for low-income people in Texas right now, according to data from the Texas Research Evaluation Project. Between 2011 and 2014, 55% of Texas women reported experiencing "at least one barrier to accessing reproductive health care services," including cancer screenings and family planning. The most common obstacle cited: an inability to pay. Nearly 40% of women surveyed said that cost was a prohibitive factor when it came to accessing basic care.
Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott praised the decision to cut Planned Parenthood out of Medicaid. “Texas has stepped forward and shown its unyielding commitment to both protecting life and providing women’s health services,” Abbott said in a statement. “The gruesome harvesting of baby body parts by Planned Parenthood will not be allowed in Texas and the barbaric practice must be brought to an end. As such, ending the Medicaid participation of Planned Parenthood affiliates in the State of Texas is another step in providing greater access to safe healthcare for women while protecting our most vulnerable—the unborn.”