Updated at 5:30 p.m.: A Travis County district judge issued a TRO blocking Planned Parenthood’s expulsion from the Medicaid system. The hearing is scheduled for February 17th.
On Wednesday, Planned Parenthood announced they filed an emergency lawsuit to stay in the Texas Medicaid program. The legal action came after a state order from Gov. Abbot banned the organization and its affiliates from participating as Medicaid providers, leaving around 8,000 low-income people without their services.
The State order will go into effect on Thursday, forcing Planned Parenthood patients to find a new provider within the Medicaid system—a system that is already stretched thin because of Texas Republican legislators failure to expand Medicaid as well as impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“More than 2 million Texans have been infected with COVID-19, yet Gov. Abbott is focused on attacking people’s constitutionally-protected right to access abortion. This is a distraction—in the style of Trump politics—that ignores the real health care needs of Texans and prioritizes scoring political points with his base, much like when he temporarily banned abortion at the start of the pandemic,” Planned Parenthood Texas Votes said in a press release on their website.
“And, in just days, the state will move to ban Planned Parenthood from providing care to Texans insured through Medicaid.“
The decision to leave out Planned Parenthood is the result of a years-long battle between the health care provider and the state’s anti-abortion politicians. GOP lawmakers are already pushing to make abortion laws even more strict this legislative session. It’s worth noting that Texas does not pay for abortions through the Medicaid program, except in extreme cases, such as rape or incest.
“Let’s be clear: Gov. Abbott, emboldened by the Trump legacy, is harming the same people who are struggling the most to survive this pandemic,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president of the Planned Parenthood Planned Action Fund.
“By forcing people – disproportionately Black and Brown people, essential workers and single parents – to go without critical health care, his administration is jeopardizing their futures, safety and ability to control their own bodies.
“Planned Parenthood will use every tool we have to ensure patients have the care they need, where they need it.”