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Access to care at Planned Parenthood temporarily preserved for Texas Medicaid patients; ability to access affordable health care throughout the pandemic remains uncertain

AUSTIN, Texas - Moments ago, a judge in the District Court of Travis County, Texas issued a temporary restraining order against Gov. Abbott’s “defunding,” which would’ve cut off 8,000 Medicaid patients from their trusted provider at Planned Parenthood health centers across the state. The so-called “defunding” was scheduled to take effect tomorrow. 

While this is temporary emergency relief for thousands of Texans, patients will remain in limbo over basic health care appointments for services — including birth control, STI testing and treatment, cancer screenings, and annual exams — as litigation plays out. Texans have already experienced this health care uncertainty in a pandemic when Gov. Abbott exploited the COVID-19 pandemic to ban abortion, which triggered a week-to-week legal rollercoaster that left patients confused and many, fleeing the state for time-sensitive health care. 

This comes a week after the Biden-Harris administration made it clear it would put an end to Trump-era attacks against health care, including programs like Medicaid. Texas’s Medicaid “defunding” offers a clear example of how critical it is for the Biden-Harris administration to stop attacks that target the reproductive health care of people with low incomes, women, and people of color.

Planned Parenthood will continue sending updates on this evolving story.


Defunding comes one week after the Biden-Harris administration directed HHS to put an end to Trump-era attacks on health care, including programs like Medicaid

  • Texas’ Medicaid defunding poses barriers to Medicaid patients who rely on Planned Parenthood for life-saving health care. 

  • The Biden Administration’s Executive Order on Strengthening Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act includes a review of any policies that pose unnecessary barriers to Medicaid patients.

  • Thousands of TX Medicaid patients are set to lose care tomorrow unless court intervenes. 

AUSTIN, Texas — Today, Planned Parenthood affiliates filed an emergency lawsuit to stop Gov. Greg Abbott from blocking 8,000 Texans with low incomes from receiving life-saving health care from the provider they know and trust. Abbott’s urgency to block Planned Parenthood patients from the care they need during a pandemic left patients with 30 days to scramble for a new provider in a Medicaid system already suffering from chronic provider shortages. Abbott’s “defunding” order takes effect tomorrow. In addition, according to the lawsuit filed today in the District Court of Travis County, Texas, the Abbott administration shirked clearly outlined procedures involved in the process of terminating Medicaid providers. 

This comes a week after the Biden-Harris administration made it clear it would put an end to Trump-era attacks against health care, including programs like Medicaid. Texas’s Medicaid “defunding” offers a clear example of how critical it is for the Biden-Harris administration to stop attacks that target the reproductive health care of people with low incomes, women, and people of color. 

For now, if courts don’t immediately step in to block Abbott’s harmful order, 8,000 Texans with low incomes could lose access to critical, life-saving health care, including cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, and birth control. In addition to hurting patients, this will have devastating consequences for community health providers and the health care infrastructure in Texas — which Texas politicians have relentlessly attacked for years. 

Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

“Let’s be clear: Gov. Abbott, emboldened by the Trump legacy, is harming the same people who are struggling the most to survive this pandemic. By forcing people – disproportionately Black and Brown people, essential workers, and single parents – to go without critical health care, his administration is jeopardizing their futures, safety, and ability to control their own bodies. Planned Parenthood will use every tool we have to ensure patients have the care they need, where they need it.”

Statement from Dyana Limon-Mercado, executive director, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes:

“Governor Abbott’s attempts to block Medicaid patients from getting care at Planned Parenthood health centers is the latest in a long history of Texas politicians trying to score points with relentless attacks on Planned Parenthood patients. Abbott is not interested in doing what’s best for Texans, and he has made it clear that he will continue to play political games regardless of the cost to the people he was elected to serve. Abbott wants to distract us from the unmitigated failure of his response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that vaccine distribution in the state has been a disaster. Just this week, in his State of the State address, Abbott refused to declare COVID-19 an emergency while thousands of Texans continue to be infected with the virus. Instead, he focused on cutting off 8,000 Texans from their trusted health care provider. Planned Parenthood won’t back down in this fight and will do everything in its power to ensure that patients have access to health care.”

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Texas Medicaid program is the most restrictive in the country — to be eligible, income for one person with one child cannot exceed $196 per month. In addition, adults without children, no matter how poor, are not eligible to receive Medicaid unless they are pregnant or have a disability.

Generations of racist and discriminatory policies have forced a disproportionate number of people of color and women to enroll in public health programs like Medicaid. When politicians attack Medicaid patients, who already navigate inherently discriminatory systems with fewer freedoms than others, those patients lose the ability to choose the provider best for them. It’s  one more assault against the same communities that face unjust, systemic barriers to basic human rights, including access to affordable health care, education, and housing.

Gov. Abbott’s latest attack on comprehensive health care access for Medicaid patients follows years of attempts by Texas to cut off Medicaid patients from Planned Parenthood affiliates, based on a series of elaborate, false, and debunked claims peddled by an organization opposed to safe and legal abortion. In 2011, Texas replaced the federally-backed Medicaid family planning program with its own state-funded program after the Obama administration refused to allow Texas to exclude Planned Parenthood affiliates and other abortion providers from its Medicaid program. Last year, the Trump administration allowed federal funds to go back into Texas’s failed program, which serves 39 %fewer women and merely a fraction of the millions who critically need reproductive health care. Planned Parenthood health centers in Texas were also cut from the joint state-federal Breast and Cervical Cancer Services (BCCS) program in 2015. Planned Parenthood had partnered with the BCCS program for more than 20 years. In some Texas communities, Planned Parenthood was the only provider of BCCS services.


Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational, advocacy and electoral activity, including grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and voter education.

Planned Parenthood Texas Votes (PPTV) is the nonpartisan policy, advocacy and political arm for the Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas.


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