AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – The leaders of Texas Planned Parenthood asked a federal judge on Tuesday to bar the state's bid businesses Medicaid funding to the healthcare group, who has long been targeted by Republicans for providing abortions.
Planned Parenthood says the threatened funding cut, by terminating Planned Parenthood's enrollment inside state-funded healthcare system to the poor, may affect nearly 11,000 patients across Texas.
It is seeking an injunction from Judge Sam Sparks in federal court in Austin to quit the cutoff, the most recent twist in the protracted legal and political fight.
Texas and lots of other Republican-controlled states have pushed to cut the organization's funding since an anti-abortion group released videos that this said showed Planned Parenthood officials negotiating prices for fetal tissue collected from abortions.
The defunding efforts could gain traction because Republicans, who already control the U.S. House and Senate, are expanding their powers because of this week's inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump.
Ken Lambrecht, leader of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas in addition to a plaintiff inside the suit, testified his group would not take part in fetal tissue donation for scientific research.
Planned Parenthood has denied wrongdoing nationally, saying the videos were heavily edited and misleading.
The Medicaid cut was "unconscionable," Lambrecht told Sparks, adding that this tends to make it more challenging for quite a few within the state's poorest people to access services his affiliate provides, which include cancer screenings, birth prevention and HIV testing.
Texas has stated that other medical facilities could provide similar services as Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood affiliates across Texas received uniformly $4.Two million in Medicaid funding over the 2019 fiscal year, the state's Health and Human Services Commission said.
None of these money joined abortions, plaintiffs in the suit against Texas as well as Medicaid defunding plan have said.
"The state's main objection could be the information within the videos," Sparks said at the beginning of the hearing. He later added, however, which he would not view the videos as a central into the hearing, which opened Tuesday as well as being scheduled to work through Thursday
Texas investigated Planned Parenthood across the videos as well as a grand jury last January cleared it of the wrongdoing. The grand jury indicted a family who made the videos for document fraud.
The state took no further criminal action against Planned Parenthood after that but has repeated its accusations the abortion provider might have violated state guiidelines.
Planned Parenthood gets about $500 million annually in federal funds round the United states of america, largely in reimbursements through Medicaid.