Texas officials on Monday cut off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood clinics because of what they said were "acts of misconduct" captured on undercover video earlier this year.
In a letter to Planned Parenthood providers on the Gulf Coast, Stuart Bowen, the inspector general for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, notified the clinics of his intention to terminate their enrollment in the state's Medicaid program because Texas had determined they were "no longer capable of performing medical services in a professionally competent, safe, legal, and ethical manner."
Videos secretly recorded by a conservative anti-abortion group and released online earlier this year claim to show Planned Parenthood doctors and others discussing selling fetal tissue for profit. However, the women's health provider says the videos are heavily edited and misleading.
Congress has launched hearings into the videos, but Bowen said they "indicate" Planned Parenthood violated the state's conditions for Medicaid funding.
"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," Bowen wrote.
The inspector general alleges Planned Parenthood staff followed a policy of altering the timing or method of abortion in order to procure fetal tissue, failed to prevent conditions that would allow for infections and diseases to spread, and were not trained in infection control.
Bowen also said his office built a "prima facie case" that Planned Parenthood officials acted fraudulently by encouraging staff to knowingly file false claims and follow a pattern of illegal billing practices.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott championed the decision cut off Medicaid funding, saying his administration is committed to protecting the lives of the unborn, as well as 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," Abbott said in a statement. "As such, ending the Medicaid participation 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.”
In a statement posted to Twitter, Planned Parenthood of Texas said the decision to cut Medicaid funding was "politically motivated."
There are 39 Planned Parenthood clinics operating in Texas, according to the Dallas Morning News, but only five perform abortion services. None of the clinics are involved in fetal tissue donation.
The ban on Medicaid funding would affect all clinics in the state, including those that don't offer abortion services.
Last year, the clinics received roughly $3 million in Medicaid funding, the newspaper reported.
Bowen's letter says Planned Parenthood has 30 days to respond to the notice of termination before a final notice is issued.
The decision came the same day a federal judge made public an order that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal maintain Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood centers for 14 more days while the court considers plans to cut it off permanently.
Jindal also cited the undercover videos in his decision to cut Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood.