U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks ruled on Tuesday that Texas can’t cut Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood. This decision comes after the Austin Judge delayed making this decision in January, buying Planned Parenthood another month of guaranteed Medicaid.
The outcome was an answer to the controversy caused by secretly recorded videos taken by anti-abortion Republicans in 2015, which led to accusations of Planned Parenthood selling fetal body parts on the black market. In December, Texas cut off Medicaid to some groups. Sparks found no evidence to substantiate the argument that Planned Parenthood violated any ethical or medical standards.
“A secretly recorded video, fake names, a grand jury indictment, congressional investigations—these are the building blocks of a best-selling novel rather than a case concerning the interplay of federal and state authority through the Medicaid program,” Sparks wrote in response to his decision. “Yet, rather than a villain plotting to take over the world, the subject of this case is the State of Texas’s efforts to expel a group of health care providers from a social health care program for families and individuals with limited resources.”
Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton aims to appeal, due to the accusations following the investigation of Planned Parenthood’s abortion practices.
“No taxpayer in Texas should have to subsidize this repugnant and illegal conduct. We should never lose sight of the fact that, as long as abortion is legal in the United States, the potential for these types of horrors will continue,” Paxton said in a statement.
The two activists who recorded the secret video were indicted for using fake identification and covertly entering the facility in January 2016 by a grand jury in Houston. The charges were later dropped.
Texas is one of at least six states that has kept Planned Parenthood eligible for Medicaid reimbursements for non-abortion services. This is good news for the 12,500 of the 4.7 million Texans on Medicaid who get services from Planned Parenthood, but Donald Trump’s promise to defund the organization still looms ahead.
In January, Paul Ryan announced that the Trump administration intends to axe federal funding to Planned Parenthood as one step in the process to dismantle Obamacare. This would be devastating to the non-profit, as it would cut nearly $400 million in Medicaid funds.