In a win for reproductive rights advocates, today the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider a case between Planned Parenthood and the states of Louisiana and Kansas concerning respective state laws that sought to strip Planned Parenthood of Medicaid funding.
This decision means that the appeals court rulings that blocked the respective laws from going into effect will remain in place and Medicaid patients will continue to be covered at Planned Parenthood clinics for non-abortion related procedures. Three Justices – Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch – disagreed with the majority’s decision not to hear the case.
“We are pleased that lower court rulings protecting patients remain in place,” said Leana Wen, the new president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “As a doctor, I have seen what’s at stake when people cannot access the care they need and when politics gets in the way of people making their own health care choices.”
Planned Parenthood and patients had filed suit against the states arguing that under federal law, Medicaid patents are supposed to be guaranteed the ability to receive medical services from any qualified person or institution that provides such care. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as well as the courts, have consistently upheld this right and forbidden states from defunding a provider simply because the offer a legal, medical service such as abortion.
According to USA Today, efforts to strip Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid funding have been blocked by federal courts in Arizona and Indiana and are currently being contested in Ohio and Texas.
25 states amped up efforts to cut Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood after the so-called Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released fraudulently made and deceptively edited videos accusing Planned Parenthood of selling fetal tissue. Three Congressional committees and investigations in over a dozen states have found no evidence of wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood. A grand jury in Texas that was formed to investigate Planned Parenthood ended up clearing the organization of wrongdoing, opting instead to criminally indict David Daleiden, director of CMP. Those charges were later dropped, but Daleiden now faces 15 felony charges in California relating to the video.
According to a letter written in February by Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, President Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services colluded with the national hate group Alliance Defending Freedom to rescind Obama-era Medicaid funding protections for Planned Parenthood and other women’s health centers so as to allow states to discriminate against them.
Newswire Sources: USA Today 12/10/18; Planned Parenthood 12/10/18; Feminist Newswire 9/15/16, 3/29/17, 2/16/18