Texas Continues Harassing Planned Parenthood

It's hard to understand what the state of Texas did to Planned Parenthood Thursday as anything but a raid aimed at intimidating the healthcare provider. Thursday morning, Texas Office of the Inspector General personnel showed up at a Planned Parenthood in Dallas and demanded documents from at least 10 different health centers dating back to 2010. The records, Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas was told, are due within 24 hours.

The OIG's Planned Parenthood visit is part of a Texas Governor Greg Abbott-led investigation into the healthcare provider for allegedly selling parts from aborted fetuses. As the Observer and other media outlets have written repeatedly, that never happened. The purported evidence that it did comes from a series of probably illegally recorded, heavily manipulated undercover videos filmed for a fly-by-night anti-abortion group known as the Center for Medical Progress.

Since the videos came out, Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton have rabidly attacked Planned Parenthood. There are currently three separate ongoing investigations, Planned Parenthood has been kicked out as a Medicaid provider in Texas and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission has banned any organization that is so much as too physically close to a Planned Parenthood location from receiving any of the state's abstinence-only sex education money.

“Texas has stepped forward and shown its unyielding commitment to both protecting life and providing women’s health services,” Abbott said Monday. “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. 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.”

No Planned Parenthood affiliate in Texas has even participated in a fetal tissue donation program in the last half-decade, but that's clearly not what this about. As Paxton has said, the investigations are about bringing an end to legal abortion in the state of Texas.

As it has throughout the mess started by the videos, Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas is sticking to its guns.

"We will make every effort to comply with the state’s request but see this is an excuse to take healthcare away from thousands of women and men who rely on Planned Parenthood for preventive care. We comply with all state laws and regulations. Protecting the confidentiality of our patients and employees is paramount. We will do everything we can to ensure their confidentiality as we cooperate with the state's request," PPGT CEO Ken Lambrecht said Thursday. "Let us be completely clear — our health center doors are open — healthcare happens here. Texans know that Planned Parenthood provides expert, compassionate and quality health care. Despite this unprecedented level of harassment by elected and state officials in Texas, our health center doors are open.”

The state, as part of its request, wants the home addresses of every employee of PPGT. This whole thing, as Abbott says, is about protecting people and providing for women's health.

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