A Texas lawsuit that may cost Planned Parenthood nearly $2 billion will be heard next year in Amarillo.
The case pits Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton against Planned Parenthood. Paxton claims that Planned Parenthood knowingly received Texas Medicaid funds after the organization was removed from the program. The attorney general is seeking repayment of $10 million along with fines and penalties Planned Parenthood estimates could amount to more than $1.8 billion in costs, reported Reuters.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk announced that a trial for the case will begin on April 16, 2024.
However, in a sealed order that was briefly made public, Kacsmaryk ruled that Planned Parenthood must return some taxpayer money paid to it by Texas and Louisiana. The order reportedly did not specify how much money would have to be returned, nor did it note if the organization broke the law, per Reuters.
The lawsuit against Planned Parenthood was originally filed anonymously in 2021 under the False Claims Act, which allows whistleblowers to bring claims on behalf of the government. Paxton later joined the lawsuit on behalf of the State of Texas.
“It is unthinkable that Planned Parenthood would continue to take advantage of funding knowing they were not entitled to keep it,” Paxton said last year. “I will not allow them to benefit from this abhorrent conduct after they were caught violating medical standards and lying to law enforcement.”
Susan Manning, general counsel for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, released a statement in response to the court date announcement. Planned Parenthood has claimed that the lawsuit is a political attack and that its organization qualifies for Medicaid dollars.
“This is a baseless case,” Manning said in a statement. “The Texas Planned Parenthood affiliates did not commit Medicaid fraud and followed the law, period. Planned Parenthood organizations are nonprofit organizations that provide quality, life-saving health care to their patients.”
“The plaintiffs’ only goal in this case is to achieve their decades-long goal of shutting down Planned Parenthood to advance a political agenda. We will never back down, and we look forward to winning this case at trial,” she said.