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Texas moves to cut Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood

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Texas plans to block about $3 million in Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood operations in the state, according to a legal document obtained on Wednesday, a move the reproductive healthcare group said could affect nearly 11,000 low-income people.

Planned Parenthood said it would seek court help to block the funding halt, which would cut cancer screenings, birth control, HIV testing and other programs.

Planned Parenthood gets about $500 million annually in federal funds, largely in reimbursements through Medicaid, which provides health coverage to millions of low-income Americans.

Texas and several other Republican-controlled states have tried to cut the organization’s funding after an anti-abortion group released videos last year that it said showed officials from Planned Parenthood negotiating prices for fetal tissues from abortions it performs.

Texas sent a final termination notice to Planned Parenthood in the state on Tuesday to alert it of the funding cut, the document showed, saying the basis of the termination was the videos.

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Planned Parenthood has denied wrongdoing, saying the videos were heavily edited and that it does not profit from fetal tissue donation. It has challenged similar defunding efforts in other states, calling them politically motivated.

Republican President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to defund Planned Parenthood, and at least 14 states have tried to pass legislation or taken administration action to prevent the organization from receiving federal Title X funding.

“Texas is a cautionary tale for the rest of the nation,” Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said in a statement. “With this action, the state is doubling down on reckless policies that have been absolutely devastating for women.”

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The Texas governor’s office was not immediately available for comment. The state investigated Planned Parenthood over the videos. A grand jury in January cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing and indicted the anti-abortion activists who made the videos for tampering with government records.

About a year ago, the Texas health department cut funding to a Houston Planned Parenthood affiliate for a nearly three-decade-old HIV prevention program. The contract was federally funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention but managed by the state.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)


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‘Devastating, illegal, and unethical’: Trump denounced for imposing sweeping attack on abortion rights nationwide

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Warning of "severe" consequences for reproductive healthcare, critics condemn the Title X gag rule as "blatantly coercive and a violation of medical ethics and patients' rights."

After President Donald Trump's administration announced Monday that it would immediately begin enforcing a ban on abortion referrals at clinics that receive federal tax dollars, outraged reproductive rights advocates warned about the impact on healthcare nationwide and vowed to keep fighting against what they call the domestic gag rule.

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Not one Republican votes to allow debate on resolution condemning Trump’s racist attacks

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Not a single House Republican on Tuesday voted to proceed to debate on a Democratic resolution condemning President Donald Trump's racist attacks on progressive Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib.

The resolution (pdf)—which is on track to pass by Tuesday evening—"strongly condemns President Donald Trump's racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color."

The procedural motion to begin debate passed by a vote of 233-190.

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GOP congressman demands Pelosi’s House floor statement be ‘taken down’ after she denounces Trump’s racist tweets

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Tuesday took to the floor of Congress to read a statement denouncing President Donald Trump's recent statements telling four congresswomen of color to go back to their home country.

"The comments are racist," Pelosi said. "How shameful to hear him continue to defend the offensive words. Words we have heard him repeat not only about our members but about countless others. Our caucus will continue to forcefully respond on these attacks which reflect a fundamental disrespect for the beautiful diversity of America. There’s no place anywhere for the president’s words which are not only divisive but dangerous and have legitimatized an increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color."

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