Five Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas filed a suit against the state on Monday over its plan to block the health care provider from receiving Medicaid funds to serve poor women.
Ten women, who remain anonymous, joined as "Jane Doe" plaintiffs in the suit filed in a U.S. federal court in Texas.
Planned Parenthood claims in the suit that the Texas Health and Human Services commission plans the funding cut for reasons that are “false” or “wholly irrelevant” to the organization’s qualifications.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced the move in October in the wake of controversy surrounding the release of hidden-camera videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing reimbursement for fetal tissue donations.
Abbott said in a statement at the time that Texas would not allow “the gruesome harvesting of baby body parts by Planned Parenthood,” and that ending Medicaid funding for the organization “is another step in providing greater access to safe health care for women while protecting our most vulnerable — the unborn.”
Planned Parenthood maintains that the videos were manipulated in editing, and that it has never profited from its limited provision of fetal tissue for medical research. Nevertheless, the organization has announced that none of its affiliates will any longer accept fees to cover the costs of providing fetal tissue for research.
In addition to the announced Medicaid cut, Texas state health investigators have showed up to Planned Parenthood centers in Houston, Dallas and two other cities with orders for the facilities to turn over documentation that included patient records and employee home addresses, The New York Times reported.
“Planned Parenthood is taking Texas to court on behalf of the 13,500 patients who come to us for care through Medicaid,” Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said Monday on her Twitter account. In another tweet, she wrote: “Every time I think they can’t do anything more to block TX women from getting #reprohealth care, they find a way to stoop to a new low.”
Federal officials with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had previously contacted Texas officials to tell them that defunding Planned Parenthood "may be in conflict with federal law," the Texas Tribune reported.
Planned Parenthood’s most recent annual report breaks down services provided by its affiliates nationwide: Testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases accounted for 42 percent of the services; contraception, 34 percent; cancer screening, 9 percent; and abortion services, 3 percent.
The Texas governor’s office said it has no comment at this time on the lawsuit.