President Joe Biden has entered office with executive action that expands U.S. taxpayer funding of abortions.
Texas leaders, however, have just won their own victory in an ongoing fight to end such federal funding of the procedures. As of Wednesday, Planned Parenthood locations across the state will no longer be allowed to receive Medicaid funding.
“Leaves it up to a State”
According to Breitbart, the state moved to disqualify the abortion provider in 2015 as part of its response to undercover videos from the Center for Medical Progress, which purportedly showed that Planned Parenthood agents were selling tissue from aborted fetuses.
Texas argued that Planned Parenthood was not capable of “performing medical services in a professionally competent, safe, legal, and ethical manner.”
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court decision in November, rejecting the argument that individual patients have the authority to contest the state’s determination regarding which providers are “qualified.”
That ruling determined: “The Medicaid Act leaves it up to a State to determine if a particular provider’s Medicaid agreement should be terminated because the provider is not ‘qualified’ or terminated on other grounds.”
Despite the Hyde Amendment’s prohibition on taxpayer dollars being used to fund abortions, Planned Parenthood has received about $616.8 million from “government health services reimbursements and grants,” much of it from Medicaid, according to the group’s most recent annual report.
“Willing to serve poor people”
In a statement by Planned Parenthood South Texas President Jeffrey Hons, the appeals court ruling amounted to a “political” move that would force poor women in the state to “scramble for basic health care.”
Pro-abortion activists often frame efforts to defund Planned Parenthood as an attack on medical services provided in such facilities, though pro-life advocates typically dismiss the argument as a smokescreen.
Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops Executive Director Jennifer Allmon insists that blocking Medicaid funding will impede Planned Parenthood’s “ability to use the guise of Medicaid funded contraceptive visits to encourage abortion.”
Although most arguments in favor of funding Planned Parenthood focus on its supposed healthcare benefits, some Democrats are campaigning to eliminate the Hyde Amendment altogether.
After all, as Allmon argued, there are currently “hundreds of providers” across her state that are “willing to serve poor women with authentic healthcare services that are not also peddling abortion.”