Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against Planned Parenthood on Thursday to recover more than $10 million in taxpayer funds that the abortion chain received after the state defunded it in 2016.
Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas continued to collect money from the Texas Medicaid program from 2016 to 2021 while it challenged the defunding action in court, according to the lawsuit. However, the abortion chain ultimately lost its case.
Now, Paxton said the law requires Planned Parenthood to return that money, approximately $10 million in taxpayer dollars.
“It is unthinkable that Planned Parenthood would continue to take advantage of funding knowing they were not entitled to keep it,” Paxton said in a statement. “I will not allow them to benefit from this abhorrent conduct after they were caught violating medical standards and lying to law enforcement.”
Texas took action to defund Planned Parenthood from its state Medicaid program in 2015 after undercover videos from the Center for Medical Progress exposed unethical and potentially illegal practices involving Planned Parenthood’s aborted baby body parts trade.
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Planned Parenthood sued, and a judge initially blocked the defunding effort. But in 2020, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the state, agreeing that Texas can kick out Planned Parenthood from the program for violating state policies.
According to Texas Right to Life: “Medicaid providers in Texas are required to follow Texas Medicaid policies and federal and state law. The Texas Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found Planned Parenthood violated federal regulations by altering abortion procedures to harvest baby body parts. Thus, the OIG terminated Planned Parenthood’s provider contract.”
In the new lawsuit, Paxton’s office said the abortion chain knew that it was not entitled to keep the money if it lost its case, but Planned Parenthood has failed to repay it, as required by law.
State pro-life leaders praised Paxton for taking action to recover taxpayers’ money from the abortion giant.
“Thank you to Attorney General Ken Paxton for suing Planned Parenthood to recover $10 million in Medicaid payments,” Texas Alliance for Life responded on Twitter. “Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion provider, and they don’t deserve any of our tax dollars.”
A lawyer for Planned Parenthood slammed the lawsuit Thursday, claiming it is just “another political attack” by pro-life politicians.
“Planned Parenthood will continue to fight back against all of these false accusations and political attacks and will continue serving patients in Texas – no matter what,” Planned Parenthood general counsel Kumiki Gibson told Courthouse News.
Medicaid is the largest stream of taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood, and, in Texas, the abortion chain received as much as $4 million annually before the state disqualified it from the program, according to Courthouse News.
Some argue that the defunding action will hurt Texans’ access to health care, but Planned Parenthood does not provide much basic health care. Former CEO Leana Wen said its “core mission” is aborting unborn babies. And its own annual reports show that the few actual health services that it does provide, such as birth control, cancer screenings and sterilizations, have been dropping steadily in recent years while its abortion numbers grow.
Meanwhile, community health centers outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities by 20 to one across the country and provide comprehensive health care, including dozens of vital services that the abortion chain does not.
While Medicaid funds do not pay for abortions directly (Planned Parenthood is lobbying Congress to change that), they do indirectly fund its abortion business. Planned Parenthood does about 40 percent of all abortions in the U.S.
Its annual reports show hundreds of millions of tax dollars going to the abortion chain every year through Medicaid, Title X and other programs.
Texas lawmakers have taken steps to cut off other streams of taxpayer funding to the abortion chain as well. In 2019, the legislature passed a law prohibiting government agencies from contracting with groups that provide or promote abortions.