While Republicans on Capitol Hill were busy subjecting Hillary Clinton to their scorn and ridicule, Texas Republicans were continuing one of the other GOP wars — the one against Planned Parenthood.
On October 22, Texas health officials raided several Planned Parenthood offices, demanding patients’ health records, billing records, and other documents. The move is connected to Governor Greg Abbott’s attempt to deny Medicaid funding to the organization.
The Austin American-Statesman reports that investigators made surprise visits on Thursday morning to Planned Parenthood facilities in San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston. They demanded records going back to 2010 from ten different Planned Parenthood offices. Yvonne Gutierrez, executive director of the Texas Planned Parenthood Votes political action committee, said in a statement that officials were:
looking for an excuse to take health care away from thousands of women and men who rely on Planned Parenthood for preventive care — but what they will see is professional, compassionate and quality health care.
“Governor Abbott’s political grandstanding is on full display this morning,” Gutierrez added.
State health officials pointed to the videos released by the Center For Medical Progress as the reason behind the raids. They say that they want to find out if Planned Parenthood clinics misspent Medicaid funding. Texas Planned Parenthood clinics have received more than $3 million in Medicaid money so far in 2015, with over 90 percent of it coming from the federal government. According to KXAN, Texas officials are alleging that Planned Parenthood misused Medicaid dollars by scheduling abortions in a way that would be best for them to obtain fetal tissue from the procedure.
Texas Senate Democratic leader Jose Rodriguez says that the health department is violating patient privacy by demanding the records. The senator issued a statement that says in part:
This is a gross invasion of client privacy, and I’m tired of watching low-income women become collateral damage in attacks on Planned Parenthood that are based on deceptive videos and political grandstanding.
Several states, including Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and South Dakota have investigated Planned Parenthood since the CMP videos were released. None have found any wrongdoing by the organization. But the federal government was almost shut down over the fight to defund Planned Parenthood, and the Texas move makes it clear that attacks on the organization will continue in any state where Republicans feel they have enough power to succeed in their crusade to close down Planned Parenthood clinics.
Here’s a report on the Texas raids, from KXAN:
Featured image via KXAN screen capture