By Peter Sullivan - 10/19/15 11:43 AM EDT
Texas officials announced Monday that they are moving to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood through the state’s Medicaid program, the latest in a series of battles around the organization.
“Texas has stepped forward and shown its unyielding commitment to both protecting life and providing women’s health services,” Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said in a statement. “The gruesome harvesting of baby body parts by Planned Parenthood will not be allowed in Texas and the barbaric practice must be brought to an end."
The decision is expected to draw a legal challenge, as have similar efforts in Louisiana, Alabama and Arkansas.
Earlier Monday, a federal judge ruled that Louisiana must keep making Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood for two more weeks as the case continues.
Supporters of Planned Parenthood argue that cutting the organization out of Medicaid violates federal law stating that beneficiaries must be allowed to choose from any qualified health provider that is willing to serve them.
Planned Parenthood receives most of its federal funding from Medicaid, about $390 million out of $450 million nationwide.
The letter from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, obtained by the Houston Chronicle, says that Planned Parenthood “committed and condoned numerous acts of misconduct captured on video.”
Officials say the violations include altering the method of abortions to facilitate the donation of fetal tissue.
The federal law banning changes to the method applies only in limited circumstances that do not apply to Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood says it voluntarily complies anyway, and any changes are minor and due to the fact that no two medical procedures are ever exactly alike.
Texas officials also say that Planned Parenthood violated safety standards by allowing the undercover filmmakers to handle fetal tissue without proper "protective barriers."
Planned Parenthood denounces the videos as heavily edited and politically motivated. Last week, it announced that it is ending compensation for fetal tissue to end “beyond a shadow of a doubt” the idea that it is profiting off fetal tissue.