The Texas Office of the Inspector General raided Planned Parenthood facilities in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio today, after announcing on Monday that they were being cut from the state’s Medicaid plans.
The Austin-American Statesman reports that the health investigators served the health care centers with subpoenas for patient records, employee addresses, and other information, possibly in search of evidence that the clinics used Medicaid money for abortions, in violation of the law.
In his letters to the Texas facilities on Monday, Inspector General Stuart Bowen Jr. accused the state’s Planned Parenthood employees of breaching “the minimum standards of care required of a Medicaid enrollee” and engaging in “repeated program violations.” His alleged evidence came from the videos released by the Center for Medical Progress in July, which purported to show a Planned Parenthood official selling fetal tissue for profit. (Spoiler alert: They didn’t.) The Republican backlash to these videos has been so consuming that Planned Parenthood has stopped accepting any reimbursement for fetal tissue donations, even though it’s a perfectly legal practice, just to get the GOP to move on.
The Office of the Inspector General did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In all likelihood, Texas won’t be able to deny Medicaid recipients access to Planned Parenthood for long: Arkansas and Louisiana have both tried the same tactic and were blocked, at least temporarily, by federal courts. But the optics of two men in suits and briefcases storming the doors of a clinic may be all the Inspector General needs to get what he’s after: a political boost. “The breadth and depth of what was requested this morning was unprecedented,” Austin Planned Parenthood employee Sarah Wheat told the Statesman. “Today’s visits were clearly politically motivated. We’re all pretty surprised by how far the (state) is willing to go to try to shut down Planned Parenthood health centers.”