Weeks after the House passed legislation that would block federal funding for Planned Parenthood, Texas lawmakers have removed the clinics from the state's Medicaid program.
Gov. Greg Abbott made the announcement yesterday afternoon, saying that the decision comes in the wake of a viral video from this summer allegedly showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing selling fetal organs for medical research purposes (organization executives pointed out in a response statement that occasionally, women will permit them to use the fetal organs for stem cell research).
"The gruesome harvesting of baby body parts by Planned Parenthood will not be allowed in Texas, and the barbaric practice must be brought to an end," Abbott said at a press conference. "As such, ending the Medicaid participating of Planned Parenthood affiliates in the state of Texas is another step in providing greater access to safe healthcare for women while protecting our most vulnerable—the unborn."
Last month, in a 241-187, the House of Representatives voted to defund the organization, though the bill is expected to die in the Senate. However, the new Texas block will keep state money from funding the organization. Nearly all Democratic lawmakers opposed the vote, saying that the overwhelming majority of the services provided are not abortions.
Planned Parenthood officials say that they will continue to fight Texas' new measures.
"It is completely outrageous that Texas officials are using these thoroughly discredited, fraudulent videos to cut women off from preventative health care, including cancer screenings, HIV testing and birth control," Planned Parenthood Federation of America vice-president Dawn Laguens said in a statement. "We will fight back against this outrageous, malicious, political attack in Texas with everything we've got, and we will protect women's access to the health care they need and deserve."