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Public Safety

State of Texas
Texas Attorney General's Office
News Release
Wednesday, August 16, 2017

AG Paxton Thanks 42 Congressional Members, 15 States, Bioethics Expert, and Eagle Forum
for Filing
Amicus Briefs in Support of Texas’ Fight to Defund Planned Parenthood 

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton on Tuesday expressed his gratitude to 42 congressional members, 15 states, the non-profit Eagle Forum and a leading expert on bioethics who filed amicus briefs with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in support of Texas’ right to cut off state Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood.

A district court decision in February blocked Texas from taking action against Planned Parenthood, although raw, unedited footage from undercover videos showed a willingness by the organization’s officials to traffic in fetal body parts and manipulate the timing and method of abortions.

In the congressional amicus brief, led by Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas, lawmakers asked the 5th Circuit to overturn the district court’s ruling because it contravenes “a long line of Supreme Court decisions that require States to be given leeway in interpreting federal spending legislation.”

The 15-state coalition wrote in its amicus brief that the district court decision “fundamentally misinterpreted the Medicaid Act, and sanctioned an end-around the carefully balanced regime of cooperative federalism enacted by Congress.”  The attorneys general of Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin were joined on the brief by Gov. Matthew Bevin of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant.

Additionally, Kevin Donovan, M.D., Director of the Center for Clinical Bioethics and Professor of Pediatrics at Georgetown University Medical Center, and the Eagle Forum Education and Legal Defense Fund filed friend-of-the-court briefs. Dr. Donovan, who specializes in bioethics, listed five examples where Planned Parenthood “violated well-accepted ethical standards in the medical community.” Eagle Forum told the 5th Circuit that “the path that Texas has chosen is simply not one that Medicaid prohibits as unlawful.”

“I’m grateful to the multi-state coalition, Senators Cornyn and Cruz and their congressional colleagues, Dr. Donovan and the Eagle Forum for their support of Texas cutting off major taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood because of its serious breaches of medical and ethical standards,” Attorney General Paxton said. “It’s evident by Planned Parenthood’s repugnant conduct that it is not a ‘qualified’ provider under the Medicaid Act.”

Last December, the inspector general of Texas Health and Human Services removed Planned Parenthood from the state’s Medicaid program for the video footage of actions that “violate generally accepted medical standards” and for making false statements to law enforcement. Planned Parenthood receives around $3.1 million in state Medicaid funding annually.

View the congressional amicus brief here:

View the 15-state amicus brief here:

View the Eagle Forum’s amicus brief here:

View Dr. Kevin Donovan’s amicus brief here:

View the publicly available version of the undercover videos here:

Remembering Jim Guidry M3 Global Medical Missions

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