Planned Parenthood is fighting the will of the public again this week by urging a judge to force Texas to continue giving it tax dollars.
The San Antonio Express-News reports employees for the abortion chain and state lawyers argued their cases in front of U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks on Tuesday.
The Planned Parenthood representatives asked Sparks to block the state from removing it from the taxpayer-funded Medicaid program, claiming it would have a “devastating” effect on poor women in Texas, the report states. Lawyers for the state argued that other medical facilities could use the tax dollars to provide the same services to women without also doing abortions.
In late December, the Texas Health and Human Services informed the abortion group that it would be kicked out of the taxpayer-funded program in 30 days, the Texas Tribune reports. State officials said Planned Parenthood’s potentially illegal sales of aborted babies’ body parts was a key reason for the move.
The abortion group quickly filed a lawsuit challenging the measure in court.
Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas received $4.2 million in taxpayer dollars through Medicaid in 2015, the Austin American-Statesman reports. The abortion group says it used the money to provide non-abortion services to about 11,000 Texans, the AP reports.
On Tuesday, lawyers for the state pointed to Planned Parenthood’s huge profits and said it could continue operating without taxpayer funds. However, representatives from the abortion business told the judge that its fundraising money would not be enough to continue serving all of its patients.
Here’s more from Reuters:
The Medicaid cut was “unconscionable,” Lambrecht testified, adding it would make it more difficult for some of the state’s poorest people to access services his affiliate provides, such as cancer screenings and HIV testing.
The hearing was scheduled to continue Wednesday.
News reports about the hearing failed to mention that a U.S. Congressional investigation recently released evidence that another Texas affiliate, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast,“broke the law when it sold aborted baby remains for profit to the University of Texas.” The U.S. House panel referred the case to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for further review.
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee also released its findings and referred several Planned Parenthood affiliates to the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice for further investigation and possible prosecution.
Planned Parenthood denies any wrong-doing.
In a statement, pro-life Gov. Greg Abbott’s office previously described the defunding move as a responsible use of tax dollars. It said health care groups that receive tax dollars should “demonstrate that the health and safety of their patients come before a profit motive that puts women at greater risk.”
In its final notice letter to the Texas abortion group, department Inspector General Stuart Bowen said the undercover videos showed that “Planned Parenthood violated state and federal law.” He said the abortion group showed a “willingness to charge more than the costs incurred for procuring fetal tissue.”
“Your misconduct is directly related to whether you are qualified to provide medical services in a professionally competent, safe, legal and ethical manner,” Bowen wrote in the letter. “Your actions violate generally accepted medical standards, as reflected in state and federal law, and are Medicaid program violations that justify termination.”
Planned Parenthood does about 320,000 abortions a year in the U.S., more than any other group, and receives about $550 million in tax dollars nationally. The tax money that Planned Parenthood receives is not supposed to be used for abortions, but a growing list of evidence indicates that it does.