Texas Right to Life applauds the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit allowing the State of Texas to temporarily terminate the Medicaid contract for Planned Parenthood. The circuit court’s ruling vacates the preliminary injunction by federal District Judge Sam Sparks. The Fifth Circuit opinion identified errors made by the district court in their zeal to prevent the State of Texas from enacting policies that protect Texas women and their preborn children.
The State of Texas terminated the Medicaid contract for Planned Parenthood in December 2016 after several instances of fraudulent overbilling and a review of the undercover videos that showed Planned Parenthood employees conspiring to break the law and sell fetal body parts for profit. In an opinion for the three-judge panel, Judge Edith Jones criticized the district court for failing to give any deference to the findings of the Office of the Investigator General for Texas, and using incorrect standards in order to achieve the desired judicial outcome. The case will be sent back to the district court, but in the meantime the largest abortion provider in Texas will not be benefiting from taxpayer funding through their Medicaid contract.
The favorable ruling from the Fifth Circuit comes after some Pro-Life activists were disheartened by recent news that the Supreme Court of the United States declined to hear two technical cases concerning efforts to cut Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid funding in other states. After further review, the SCOTUS decision should not be over interpreted.
However, today Texas Right to Life applauds the decision of the Fifth Circuit to allow the State of Texas to determine the proper use of taxpayer funds and what constitutes qualified medical providers. Texas has led the way in ensuring that state and federal spending is consistent with our compelling state interest to protect preborn Life. The Texas Legislature should further this principle by passing legislation that will prohibit all taxpayer funding of abortion providers. Texans should never be obligated to participate in subsidizing the destruction of innocent human Life, and Texas Right to Life thanks the court for recognizing and affirming this principle.