Following grand jury decision, Equality Texas calls for reinstatement of PP’s HIV prevention funding

Posted on 27 Jan 2016 at 4:07pm

Planned-Parenthood-ArtA Harris County grand jury yesterday, Jan. 26, declined to indict Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast on allegations of unlawful misconduct and wrongdoing, instead choosing to indict the two anti-abortion activists who brought the investigation.

The grand jury decision came months after videos released by the Center for Medical Progress allegedly showed executives at Planned Parenthood clinics discussing the sale of fetal tissue. Each investigation into the wrongdoing has resulted in no conviction against the women’s health organization.

But David Daleiden, founder of the Center for Medical Progress, was indicted on a felony charge of tampering with a governmental record and a misdemeanor charge relating to purchasing human organs. His companion, Sandra Merritt, was also indicted on a charge of tampering with a governmental record.

But the damage has already been done. The state pulled remaining funding designated toward HIV prevention and education from the organization after the video broke. (I wrote about privacy behind the state’s ongoing investigation here.)

In a statement, Equality Texas urged the Department of State Health Services to reinstate prevention funding contracts with Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, which serves Houston and other surrounding communities and Louisiana.

Those services include HIV testing, condom distribution, PrEP risk prevention programs and vital care counseling.

“Equality Texas understands firsthand how the spread of malicious lies and false accusations of illegal activity can affect the public safety and public health of LGBT communities. Now that a Harris County grand jury has cleared Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast of all wrongdoing we are calling on the Texas Department of State Health Services to reinstate HIV/PrEP prevention funding to Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast,” said Chuck Smith, executive director of Equality Texas.

There was no clear indication if the state will comply, however.

Following the Harris County indictment, Attorney General Ken Paxton, said the state’s investigation into the organization’s abuse of Medicaid contracts will continue.

“The fact remains that the videos exposed the horrific nature of abortion and the shameful disregard for human life of the abortion industry. The state’s investigation of Planned Parenthood is ongoing,” Paxton said.

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