AUSTIN, Texas — Officials in Texas have decided to strip the abortion giant Planned Parenthood of nearly $600,000 that the group had been receiving for its HIV prevention and testing program.
“We have the discretion to extend the contract and elected not to,” Texas Department of State Health Services spokesman Chris Van Deusen told reporters. “The services will be provided by local health departments in the area.”
The funds have been provided through the Centers for Disease Control, but the state controlled the allotment. The Department of State Health Services wrote a letter to Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast on Dec. 21 to advise that when the contract expires on Dec. 31, it will not be renewed.
Planned Parenthood had been using the funding to test to patrons for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia.
However, the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s guide for youth living with HIV, “Healthy, Happy and Hot,” decries laws that require persons with HIV to disclose that they have the virus.
“Some countries have laws that say people living with HIV must tell their sexual partner(s) about their status before having sex, even if they use condoms or only engage in sexual activity with a low risk of giving HIV to someone else,” the guide reads. “These laws violate the rights of people living with HIV by forcing them to disclose or face the possibility of criminal charges.”
Rochelle Tafolla, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, asserted that without Planned Parenthood, no one else would provide the tests.
“I don’t know who else is going to fill that gap, and I don’t know if anyone can, frankly,” she told the Texas Tribune. “Every time the state cuts these programs in an attempt to score political points.”
As previously reported, the abortion giant sued the state of Texas in November for revoking its Medicaid funding effective this month.
“[T]here is reliable information indicating a pattern of illegal billing practices by Planned Parenthood affiliates, including you, across the state,” a letter from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission read. “Our prima facie case of fraud is supported by related cases involving fraudulent practices identified by whistleblowers from inside the Texas Planned Parenthood network.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott had stated prior to the filing of the lawsuit that he hoped Planned Parenthood would bring a legal challenge so that he could place officials under oath and get to the truth.
“I hope for a legal challenge here because I want to put these Planned Parenthood officials under oath and get them to swear about the practices that they were conducting in the state of Texas. Either, their horrific practices will be revealed or they may be found in violation of laws for perjury,” he told Fox News. “Texas does have hard evidence showing Medicaid fraud.”