Texas Lawsuit Could Bankrupt Planned Parenthood Chapters

Ken Paxton, the temporarily sidelined attorney general of Texas, has initiated a lawsuit demanding Planned Parenthood repay over $1 billion, encompassing Medicaid reimbursements and fines.

Presented in federal court on Tuesday under the guidance of Angela Colmenero, the current head of the attorney general’s office, a win for the state could severely impact Planned Parenthood and possibly shutter its Texas operations.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc.’s president, Alexis McGill Johnson, last month described this move as a politically motivated attempt to undermine health care in Texas.

The lawsuit contends that Planned Parenthood wrongly sought reimbursements from the state’s Medicaid while simultaneously contesting its right to utilize these very Medicaid funds in Texas.

A March 2021 decision, as reported by The Texas Tribune, concluded that the organization could be removed from Medicaid, concluding a drawn-out legal tussle. Texas is now pursuing about $17 million in Medicaid disbursements and over $1 billion in extra penalties and punitive damages from Planned Parenthood for the said timeframe.

Overseeing this case is Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk of the Northern Texas District Court. Earlier this year, Kacsmaryk made an attempt to prevent the Food and Drug Administration from endorsing an abortion medication. He had previously commented on the emotional aftermath of abortions in a preliminary judgment concerning the drug mifepristone.

Highlighting the potential gravity of the situation, Dr. Amna Dermish, the top operating and medical officer of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, indicated that with Kacsmaryk at the helm, the organization’s three Texas branches might face existential threats.

Dermish noted the healthcare challenges faced by Texas, stating, “With significant numbers of residents either uninsured or underinsured, Texas grapples with health issues like a syphilis outbreak and limited access to prenatal services. Despite these challenges, not many appear eager to step up and address the health care gap,” as expressed to The Tribune.