Texas is one of 10 states that have all but banned abortion following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson. This means that Planned Parenthood no longer provides abortion services in the Lone Star State, but the nonprofit organization still offers Texas residents contraception, cancer screening and HIV treatment. Texas officials are not happy about this, and they have made several attempts to encourage Planned Parenthood to leave the state. Planned Parenthood was removed from the state’s list of approved Medicaid providers in 2016, and the move was deemed legal by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Planned Parenthood still provides health care services in Texas through affiliate groups, which has prompted state officials to accuse the organization of health care fraud.
Health care fraud
Allegations of health care fraud were leveled against Planned Parenthood in 2021 by an anonymous whistleblower who sued the organization. The lawsuit was brought under the False Claims Act, which allows individuals to file lawsuits on behalf of the federal government. Texas joined the lawsuit in 2022. The lawsuit alleges that Planned Parenthood affiliates defrauded Texas by submitting $10 million in Medicaid claims for services provided while the litigation was pending. Officials do not deny that the services were provided.
Interest, fees and penalties
Interest, penalties and legal fees could increase the $10 million sought by the plaintiffs by as much as $1.8 billion. Planned Parenthood says that losing the lawsuit would severely hamper its ability to provide reproductive and maternal health care services in Texas. Legal observers noted that the lawsuit was filed in a city where Planned Parenthood does not have a facility. They believe the move was made to ensure the case was heard by a federal judge with a long record of anti-abortion rulings.
This case is scheduled to go to trial in April 2024 and will likely attract a lot of media attention. Abortion is a hot-button political issue, and a defeat for Planned Parenthood could lead to anti-abortion laws being passed in other states.