Judge allows Planned Parenthood to stay in Medicaid until Feb.

BY MARISSA EVANS AND MARIANA ALFARO

U.S. District Court Judge Sam Sparks on Thursday delayed Planned Parenthood’s ouster from the state’s Medicaid program until Feb. 21.

The decision comes after three days of testimony and arguments in the U.S. District Court in Austin. The reproductive health provider initially sued more than a year ago, but that lawsuit sat dormant until Dec. 20, when the Texas Health and Human Services

Commission put Planned Parenthood on notice that its Medicaid funding would end.

“We are grateful that the court has so far protected the 11,000 men, women and young people who could lose access to birth control, cancer screenings and other primary, preventive care at Planned Parenthood,” Yvonne Gutierrez, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes, said in a statement Wednesday evening. “Let’s be clear about what is at stake: We have seen what happens when the state ‘defunds’ Planned Parenthood —people go without care.”

In court, state attorneys relied heavily on a video released in 2015 by the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress. In video clips shown during the hearing, Planned Parenthood employees appeared to admit to changing abortion procedures in order to procure fetal tissue for researchers, which the state said is grounds for dismissal from the joint federal-state insurance program for the poor and disabled.

Read more: texastribune.org.