Austin, Texas—February 21, 2017: Today, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks extended the injunction blocking Texas from removing Planned Parenthood from Medicaid contracts until the conclusion of the full trial of Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit to remain in the Medicaid program. Planned Parenthood was notified of the final decision to terminate contracts in December 2016, more than a year after Texas officials first moved to cut Planned Parenthood from all Medicaid programs. On January 19, after three days of testimony and arguments in the U.S. District Court in Austin, Sparks issued the initial injunction.
Judge Sparks’ ruling against the state’s action is not surprising, as he has historically opposed Pro-Life laws and administrative actions. Judge Sparks indicated that he expected his decision to be appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court, saying “I’m an elevator; I take a case; I move it up to people much smarter than me.” Indeed, because the state of Texas has authority over which providers to contract with for Medicaid services and brought evidence that Planned Parenthood had broken laws concerning patient safety and the sale of the body parts of preborn children, they are fully expected to appeal this decision by Judge Sparks to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Texas officials moved to terminate Medicaid contracts with Planned Parenthood in 2015 based on evidence of violations of patient safety and the illegal trafficking of body parts from aborted babies. Additionally, the Inspector General Stuart Bowen Jr. cited numerous abuses of Texas taxpayers through Medicaid fraud. Affiliates across the state have committed Medicaid fraud to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. In one case, the group only had to furnish fifteen cents for every dollar they stole from taxpayers.
Texas Right to Life is disappointed in Judge Sparks’ decision but hopes Texas will soon prevail in the decision to award Medicaid contracts to ethical providers that offer health services to Texas women and families. Meanwhile, our legislative team will continue to work full time during the legislative session to pass a budget-wide funding provision that prevents abortion businesses and their affiliates from receiving any additional state funding in Texas.