AP NEWS

Texas defeats Planned Parenthood in federal court battle over Medicaid

January 18, 2019

A federal appeals court in Texas gave the state a win Thursday, allowing it to carry out plans to remove Planned Parenthood from the list of Medicaid providers.

The three judges, ruling unanimously, erased an injunction a lower court had imposed on Texas, freeing the state to stop sending Medicaid money to Planned Parenthood clinics.

The judges said the lower court erred in its analysis and sent the case back for a new look and said the policy can go into effect in the meantime.

Texas made the move in 2016, booting Planned Parenthood off its list of approved Medicaid providers after some Planned Parenthood officials were caught on undercover videos taken by pro-life activists negotiating over the sale of tissue from aborted fetuses.

“The 5th Circuit’s ruling shows that the district court applied the wrong legal standard,” said Ken Paxton, Texas attorney general. “Planned Parenthood’s reprehensible conduct, captured in undercover videos, proves that it is not a ‘qualified’ provider under the Medicaid Act, so we are confident we will ultimately prevail.”

The legal fight has arisen in other states as well.

The Supreme Court last month denied appeals from Louisiana and Kansas, which were seeking to put their laws into effect.

Pro-life advocates said they were hopeful other cases like the one working its way through Texas could provide the justices another chance to take up the issue.

The appeals court cases have centered on whether Medicaid beneficiaries have a right to sue the states. Two federal circuits have said they do not, while five have said they can.

Judge Edith Jones joined the 5th Circuit’s ruling Thursday, but wrote separately to encourage the full appeals court to rehear the case since various circuits have ruled differently on the issue.

According to Mr. Paxton’s office, Planned Parenthood receives roughly $3.1 million in Medicaid funding each year.