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WASHINGTON, DC  — Today, a judge will hold a hearing in the federal court case pursued by the state of Texas and an anonymous plaintiff that aims to shut down Planned Parenthood health centers

Ahead of the hearing, in a new piece from the Texas Tribune, women’s health reporter Eleanor Klibanoff examines the potential consequences of the case for Texas patients. The case is  before Judge Kacsmaryk in the Northern District of Texas, who recently tried to overturn FDA approval of mifepristone. The piece details how Texas has repeatedly tried to exclude Planned Parenthood from any funding to provide quality health care services like birth control, cancer screenings, and STI testing and treatment

READ: Even after Planned Parenthood stopped performing abortions, Texas is still trying to shut it down

Klibanoff writes, “For more than a decade, the state has been trying and failing to chase Planned Parenthood out of Texas. Texas restricted and then banned abortion. The state removed Planned Parenthood affiliates from state-funded health programs and turned down federal dollars rather than allow Planned Parenthood to receive them. Planned Parenthood has been cut out of funding for cancer screenings, contraception, HIV prevention and sex education. Despite this concerted effort from the highest levels of state government, Planned Parenthood’s clinic doors have remained open in Texas.” 

But if this bogus lawsuit to require Planned Parenthood to pay more than $1.8 billion is successful, the people who will suffer most are patients, as Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Chief Operating and Medical Services Officer Dr. Amna Dermish describes:

“‘We have weathered a lot of storms, but we’ve always been able to come through and be there for our patients,' Dermish said. ‘That ultimately is why I come to work every single day, and it’s just my biggest fear if one day we’re not able to do that.’”

As Klibanoff makes clear, Texans have already felt the consequences of their state’s policies: 

With several rounds of funding and program cuts under their belt, the providers at Planned Parenthood knew there wasn’t a robust system of medical practices that accepted Medicaid waiting to catch these new patients.”

“As one of just 12 states that has not expanded the program, Medicaid in Texas essentially provides health insurance coverage only for children, pregnant women, disabled adults and the poorest residents.

“‘These are very vulnerable patients,’ said Laura Thomas, vice president of patient care at Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. ‘And a lot of practices don’t take Medicaid, or they have a long waitlist or maybe the facility isn’t accessible … so it felt really important that we keep being able to provide this.’”

Planned Parenthood South Texas CEO Laura Terrill explains, “‘The assumption that patients will simply obtain their health care elsewhere is simply not true…We’ve seen STI rates increase, maternal mortality rates increase, teen pregnancy increase… ’”

For more information about the case, read this fact sheet.