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Judge blocks Texas from cutting Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood

A federal judge in Austin issued a preliminary injunction on Tuesday that keeps Texas from cutting off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood over videos released by anti-abortion activists.

In his ruling, Judge Sam Sparks said state health officials did not present any evidence of any violations by the program and "such action would deprive Medicaid patients of their statutory right to obtain health care from their chosen qualified provider." There are 34 Planned Parenthood health centers in Texas, serving more than 120,000 patients, including 11,000 on Medicaid. Planned Parenthood affiliates in the state received $4.2 million in Medicaid funding in the 2015 fiscal year, and Planned Parenthood estimates it received about $3 million in 2016. The organization says that none of that money went to abortions, but rather services like HIV and cancer screenings.

In 2016, following the release by an anti-abortion group of heavily edited videos it claimed showed Planned Parenthood representatives discussing prices for fetal tissue collected from abortion, a Texas grand jury cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing and indicted two anti-abortion activists involved in the video for document fraud, with those charges later dismissed, Reuters reports.