Texas cuts off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood

Texas Cuts Off Medicaid Funding To Planned Parenthood

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas announced Monday it was cutting off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood clinics following undercover videos that featured discussions about fetal tissue, potentially triggering a court fight like one unfolding in neighboring Louisiana.

SEE ALSO:Clinton subject to hack attempts from China, Korea, Germany

Texas health officials sent a letter to Planned Parenthood affiliates saying the clinics were potentially "liable, directly or by affiliation, for a series of serious Medicaid program violations" highlighted in the videos.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott ordered an investigation after the footage, which Congress also is investigating, was released by an anti-abortion group that alleges Planned Parenthood illegally sold fetal tissue for profit.

See images of protests related to Planned Parenthood:

10 PHOTOS
Recent Planned Parenthood Protests both for and against
See Gallery
Texas cuts off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 21: Right to Life advocate Linda Heilman prays during a sit-in in front of a proposed Planned Parenthood location while demonstrating the group's opposition to congressional funding of Planned Parenthood on September 21, 2015 in Washington, DC. The Right to Life groups who took part in the protest are also calling on Pope Francis to 'address the pro-life issue and the defunding of Planned Parenthood' when he addresses Congress on September 24. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 21: Right to Life advocate Linda Heilman (L) prays during a sit-in in front of a proposed Planned Parenthood location while demonstrating the group's opposition to congressional funding of Planned Parenthood on September 21, 2015 in Washington, DC. The Right to Life groups who took part in the protest are also calling on Pope Francis to 'address the pro-life issue and the defunding of Planned Parenthood' when he addresses Congress on September 24. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 21: Right to Life advocates block 4th St. N.E. during a sit-in in front of a proposed Planned Parenthood location while demonstrating the group's opposition to congressional funding of Planned Parenthood on September 21, 2015 in Washington, DC. The Right to Life groups who took part in the protest are also calling on Pope Francis to 'address the pro-life issue and the defunding of Planned Parenthood' when he addresses Congress on September 24. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 16: Protesters hold signs protesting Planned Parenthood in front of the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill September 16, 2015 in Washington, DC. Rev. Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition urged the Republican leadership not to give taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Anti-abortion activists hold a rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson attends a anti-abortion rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Planned Parenthood faces mounting criticism amid the release of videos by a pro-life group and demands to vote in the Senate to stop funding. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 25: Director of Planned Parenthood of Utah Karrie Galloway speaks during Sex, Politics And Film Hosted By Lena Dunham And Planned Parenthood Action Fund - 2015 Park City at Wahso Asian Grill on January 25, 2015 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Sonia Recchia/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Anti-abortion activists hold a rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol on July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) announced a Senate deal to vote on legislation to defund Planned Parenthood before the Senate goes into recess in August. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 11: Women hold up signs during a women's pro-choice rally on Capitol Hill, July 11, 2013 in Washington, DC. The rally was hosted by Planned Parenthood Federation of America to urge Congress against passing any legislation to limit access to safe and legal abortion. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 11: Women hold up signs during a women's pro-choice rally on Capitol Hill, July 11, 2013 in Washington, DC. The rally was hosted by Planned Parenthood Federation of America to urge Congress against passing any legislation to limit access to safe and legal abortion. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Planned Parenthood blasted the decision, noting that thousands of women seek non-abortion health care services through Medicaid at its clinics statewide. The organization also has denied allegations levied by the Center for Medical Progress, saying the videos were deceptively edited.

"It is completely outrageous that Texas officials are using these thoroughly discredited, fraudulent videos to cut women off from preventive health care, including cancer screenings, HIV testing, and birth control," Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement.

"We will fight back against this outrageous, malicious, political attack in Texas with everything we've got, and we will protect women's access to the health care they need and deserve."

The move came just hours after a federal judge ordered Louisiana to provide Medicaid funding for at least 14 more days to Planned Parenthood, which filed a lawsuit after Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal — a Republican presidential candidate — ordered his state to block funding in the wake of the videos.

The lawsuit argues that Louisiana can't end funding for non-abortion services, such as cancer screenings and gynecological exams. Planned Parenthood says 5,200 low-income Medicaid patients obtain services through its two Louisiana clinics, neither of which offer abortions.

Laguens stopped short of announcing a lawsuit in Texas, but she noted courts have ruled that federal law prohibits states from booting abortion providers from Medicaid, including in Indiana and Arizona. A similar court fight also is ongoing in Arkansas.

"In every state where this fraudulent smear campaign has been invoked, Planned Parenthood has fought for our patients to continue getting the high-quality, compassionate health care we provide, and in every state we've won," she said.

SEE ALSO:Teen beaten in NY church is out of the hospital, will testify

The letter sent to Texas clinics appears to offer a pre-emptive defense against such claims. It notes that "there are thousands of alternate providers in Texas" and that the Republican-controlled Legislature has denied as much funding as possible to Planned Parenthood since 2013, including shutting it out of the Texas Women's Health Program. The state-funded program provides health care to poor women and families.

Abbott, Texas' former attorney general, praised health officials for the decision. In a statement Monday, the governor said ending the organization's participating in the joint state-federal Medicaid program "is another step in providing greater access to safe health care for women while protecting our most vulnerable — the unborn."

The videos were released, starting in mid-July, by anti-abortion activists who posed as representatives of a biomedical firm. They sought to negotiate the purchase of fetal organs from some Planned Parenthood personnel. Planned Parenthood has denied seeking any payments beyond legally permitted reimbursement of costs.

More from AOL.com:
NYC trial revisits infamous heist portrayed in 'Goodfellas'
Amazon sues over 1,000 freelancers for writing fake reviews
Peter Sarsgaard on the one role he'll never play
Read Full Story