Lawyers from Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office today urged the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit to overturn last year’s district court decision ordering Texas to provide taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood.
During oral arguments, the attorney general’s legal team focused on raw, unedited footage from eight hours of undercover videos showing violations of medical and ethical standards by Planned Parenthood officials.
In the video, Planned Parenthood employees admit that some doctors performed abortions to obtain fetal tissue for their own research. They state that their doctors would modify abortion procedures to get the best possible fetal tissue specimens, even though they tell women that no such modifications will be made when convincing them to donate their unborn child’s tissue. They also assert that their ability to furnish intact fetal cadavers depended on how much pain their patients could tolerate during the abortion procedure. Federal laws prohibit researchers from performing abortions to secure fetal tissue for their own research under such circumstances, and prohibits modifying abortion procedures to obtain tissue for research purposes.
“We provided conclusive evidence to the 5th Circuit that Planned Parenthood’s practices constitute serious breaches of medical and ethical standards. Such illegal and unethical behavior more than justifies Texas’ decision to withhold taxpayer funding from the organization,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Planned Parenthood’s shocking and repugnant conduct, captured in the raw video footage, proves that it is not a ‘qualified’ provider under the Medicaid Act. An organization that is willing to subject women to abortion procedure modifications that can put their health at risk without their consent does not deserve a dime of Texas taxpayers’ money.”
In December 2016, the inspector general of Texas Health and Human Services removed Planned Parenthood from the state’s Medicaid program for the video footage of actions that “violate generally accepted medical standards,” and for making false statements to law enforcement. Though Planned Parenthood is still under investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice, it receives around $3.1 million a year in Texas Medicaid funding.