BREAKING: Texas pulls Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid funding over aborted baby parts scandal
AUSTIN, Texas, October 19, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - The state of Texas will kick Planned Parenthood out of of its Medicaid program due to revelations made in a series of undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress.
"The state has determined that you and your Planned Parenthood affiliates are no longer capable of performing medical services in a professionally competent safe, legal and ethical manner," a state watchdog announced in a letter to Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast (PPGC) today.
The state said the videos showed Planned Parenthood officials admitted to illegally altering their abortion technique to maximize the number of organs that could be harvested for medical research firms, disregarded safety standards to prevent infection, and that PPGC may have committed billing fraud.
“Earlier this year, you committed and condoned numerous acts of misconduct captured on video that reveal repeated program violations and breach the minimum standards of care required of a Medicaid enrollee,” wrote Stuart Bowen Jr., the Inspector General in the state's Health and Human Services Commission.
The fifth undercover CMP video features Melissa Farrell, PPGC's director of research, telling investigators that, for a price, she could assure that abortionists change their method of abortion to assure the aborted babies remain as “intact” as possible.
“If we alter our process, and we are able to obtain intact fetal cadavers, we can make it part of the budget” to cover “dissections” and “splitting the specimens into different shipments” to the researchers' labs, she said. “It’s all just a matter of line items.”
Farrell added it “would be exciting” for her to learn how to dissect babies personally. "I know it’s sickening on some level, but it’s fun."
Approximately 20 minutes of the footage shows investigators inside a Houston Planned Parenthood facility handling the organs and tissue of a baby who was aborted 20 weeks into pregnancy. “It was a twin,” a tech says at one point in the video.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott hailed the decision for showing the Lone Star State's “unyielding commitment to both protecting life and providing women’s health services.”
“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,” said Gov. Abbott, a Republican who defeated Wendy Davis last fall. “As such, ending the Medicaid participation of Planned Parenthood affiliates in the State of Texas is another step in providing greater access to safe health care for women while protecting our most vulnerable – the unborn.”
Under his predecessor, Rick Perry, Texas removed Planned Parenthood from Medicaid-reimbursed family planning programs and, after the Obama administration objected, created its own, state-run women's health program.
Today's letter tells Planned Parenthood officials, despite their claims that they are the only health care outlet available to low-income women, "Your termination and that of all your affiliates will not affect access to care in this state, because there are thousands of alternate providers in Texas, including federally qualified health centers, Medicaid-certified rural health clinic, and other health care providers across the State that participate in the Texas Women’s Health Program and Medicaid."
“Texas is right to recognize that taxpayer money should go to fund local community health centers, not to subsidize a scandal-ridden, billion-dollar abortion business,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Kellie Fiedorek. “That tax money should be redirected to trusted health care providers, not given to the abortion industry.”
In today's letter, Bowen added that the state “has information suggesting that fraud” has taken place.
In 2013, PPGC settled allegations of Medicaid fraud brought by then-Attorney General Greg Abbott for $4.3 million.
There are also allegations that Planned Parenthood bilked Texan taxpayers for a decade by performing unnecessary medical procedures on incarcerated teenagers. Patricia Carroll, an Accounts Receivable Manager at PPGC for five years, said that a Texas reformatory, the Gulf Coast Trade Center in New Waverly, would arrange for its largely poor, minority teen population to have unnecessary medical tests and procedures performed at Planned Parenthood, despite the fact that the center could have had any necessary procedures done on site for free. Planned Parenthood earned $200 per procedure, Carroll said.
“Texans shouldn’t be forced to give their money to Planned Parenthood, which was caught in authenticated undercover videos trafficking aborted babies’ body parts and has a long track record of abusive and potentially fraudulent billing practices and repeated failures to report the sexual abuse of girls,” Fiedorek said.
The state also cited health and safety concerns, because the CMP investigators were allowed to handle biological waste wearing only gloves. “You failed to prevent conditions that would allow the spread of infectious diseases among employees, as well as patients and the general public” and “failed to comply with the minimum standards that mandatory training requires with regard to these critical public health and safety issues.”
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Planned Parenthood has 30 days to appeal the decision. Otherwise, the state will issue a notice of final termination from the program. Planned Parenthood would have 15 days to contest that before losing all state funding.