A federal judge in Austin has issued an injunction that effectively prevents Texas from cutting Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood over secret videos recorded by anti-abortion activists in 2015.
The battle to cut Texas Planned Parenthood out of Medicaid funding has been ongoing for many months; in December, state health officials in Texas made moves to officially defund the organization, only to be thwarted by Planned Parenthood’s under-the-wire request on the last day of 2016 to halt the decision. The videos in question were investigated by a grand jury in January of last year, the result of which cleared the Planned Parenthood clinic of any wrongdoing and instead indicted the videographers for tampering with a governmental record. Those charges were later dismissed.
The AP reports that Judge Sam Sparks was particularly pointed in his decision against the state, noting that they had failed to provide “any evidence” to support their claims that Planned Parenthood was doing anything other than providing desperately-needed healthcare resources for the estimated 11,000 people who would’ve been affected by the decision.
“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. “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.”
In a rather melodramatic statement, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton vowed to appeal the decision, saying “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.” Seeing as the “potential horrors” Paxton refers to are nothing more than conservative, anti-choice propaganda that have been thrown out in court, I wish him the best of luck.