Judge Blocks Texas GOP From Denying Low-Income Citizens Access To Planned Parenthood

Thousands of low-income Texans will still be able to receive access to cancer screenings, birth control and other important services after a federal judge on Tuesday ruled that the state cannot cut off Medicaid money to Planned Parenthood.

According to the Associated Press, the decision by U.S. District Sam Sparks makes Texas “the sixth state where federal courts have kept Planned Parenthood eligible for Medicaid reimbursements for non-abortion services.”

The GOP onslaught against the organization has been ongoing for years, but it intensified in recent years after anti-abortion activists secretly recorded and released videos they claimed were proof of wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood.

However, as the AP notes, “Investigations by 13 states into those videos have concluded without criminal charges, and Planned Parenthood officials have denied any wrongdoing.”

In his decision, Sparks slammed state leaders for limiting access to Planned Parenthood for low-income Texans based on non-existent wrongdoing by the organization.

More from the AP report:

Sparks’ decision preserves what Planned Parenthood says are cancer screenings, birth control access and other health services for nearly 11,000 low-income women at 30 clinics. Texas originally intended to boot Planned Parenthood in January but Sparks told the state to wait pending his ruling. Arkansas, Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi and Louisiana have also had similar efforts blocked.

Sparks’ unsparing opinion excoriated Texas for not providing “any evidence” of Planned Parenthood wrongdoing and stalling on the ouster for nearly a year.

“A secretly recorded video, fake names, a grand jury indictment, congressional investigations — these are the building blocks of a best-selling novel rather than a case concerning the interplay of federal and state authority through the Medicaid program,” Sparks wrote. “Yet, rather than a villain plotting to take over the world, the subject of this case is the State of Texas’s efforts to expel a group of health care providers from a social health care program for families and individuals with limited resources.”

Despite Sparks’ ruling in Texas, it remains to be seen what Donald Trump, who has proposed defunding Planned Parenthood and criminalizing abortion, will now do on a national scale as president. With control of both chambers of Congress and the scales of the U.S. Supreme Court also tipping in their favor, Republicans are only likely to step up their attacks on women’s rights over the next – at least – two years.

For now, though, thousands of women (and men) in Texas will still be able to receive access to vital health care services.