After controversial undercover videos depicted improper practices at a Planned Parenthood affiliate in Houston, state health officials have decided to eliminate the program from Medicaid coverage.

The controversial videos were taken by actors posing as people attempting to obtain fetal tissue for medical studies.  The videos showed the Planned Parenthood affiliate violating procedures by attempting to harvest fetal organs for donation and allowing private citizens access to the lab while only wearing gloves.  Planned Parenthood denies the accusations and claim that the videos were highly edited and shown out of context as a way to increase support in outlawing abortion.  In a letter sent to Planned Parenthood on Monday, inspector general Stuart Bowen wrote,

The State has determined that you and your Planned Parenthood affiliates are no longer capable of performing medical services in a professionally competent, safe, legal and ethical manner.

Gov. Abbott applauded the decision and called it a step towards assuring safe healthcare for women and protecting the unborn, which he described as "our most vulnerable."

Texas is now the fourth state seeking to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood.  Alabama, Arkansas, and Louisiana have also tried but were blocked by lawsuits due to federal funding being involved.  Rochelle Tafollahe, spokeswoman for the Houston affiliate of Planned Parenthood, said,

More than ever it is clear that efforts to block patients from accessing care at Planned Parenthood through Medicaid are politically motivated. They clearly have nothing to do with the well-being of the women and men in Houston and southeast Texas.

Planned Parenthood has already been eliminated from many state health programs, and some fear that being eliminated from federal programs like Medicaid will hinder the group's ability to provide non-abortion related healthcare services, such as breast cancer screenings.

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