By Alexandra Sifferlin
October 19, 2015
TIME Health
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Texas is eliminating taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood in the state, based on concerns over the organization’s fetal tissue donations, the governor announced on Monday.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s office issued a statement, saying Texas is ending Medicaid’s participation with Planned Parenthood, which means the women’s reproductive health nonprofit will no longer receive Medicaid funding in the state. The decision came in a letter sent Monday by the Office of Inspector General at Texas Health and Human Services Commission, Abbott’s statement said.

“Following the release of gruesome videos filmed at Planned Parenthood facilities, including Gulf Coast in Texas, Governor Greg Abbott announced his LIFE Initiative to provide greater protections for children in the womb and prevent the sale of baby body parts,” Abbott’s statement reads.

The cancellation “calls for funding to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers out of taxpayer money to be eliminated completely, both at the State and local levels,” according to the announcement.

Abbott said that canceling Medicaid participation for Planned Parenthood in Texas moves the state closer to “providing greater access to safe healthcare for women while protecting our most vulnerable – the unborn.”

Planned Parenthood has long said that its fetal tissue donations are legal, since the organization did not accept payment for the donations beyond the reimbursement of costs. On Oct. 13, Planned Parenthood announced that it will no longer accept reimbursements for expenses related to donated fetal tissue. “Planned Parenthood’s policies on fetal tissue donation already exceed the legal requirements,” Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards wrote in a letter to the National Institutes of Health. “Now we’re going even further in order to take away any basis for attacking Planned Parenthood to advance an anti-abortion political agenda.”

In the statement, Abbott’s office argued that Planned Parenthood and its affiliates are no longer capable of performing medical services safely and legally and that the termination of all Planned Parenthood affiliates “will not affect access to care because there are thousands of alternate providers in Texas including federally qualified heath centers, Medicaid-certified rural health clinics, and other health care providers across the state that participate in the Texas Women’s Health Program and Medicaid.”

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