A Florida pro-life group is urging Gov. Rick Scott (R) to live up to his own pro-life credentials by eliminating Planned Parenthood federal funding in the state and redirecting those funds to qualified health centers.
The Florida Family Policy Council has launched an all-out campaign, pointing to what they see as Scott’s “excuses” for refusing to terminate Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid contract with the state. The push from the council comes in the wake of videos produced by Center for Medical Progress that expose the abortion business’ apparent practices of harvesting the body parts of unborn babies for sale and altering abortion procedures in women in order to harvest intact baby organs.
“Governor Scott ran as a pro-life governor. We elected him,” said John Stemberger, the council’s president and general council, in a statement. “Tens of thousands, in fact hundreds of thousands (of pro-lifers), have voted for him.”
Like other governors – Scott Walker in Wisconsin, for example – Rick Scott has eliminated Planned Parenthood’s direct state funding but not the federal Medicaid and Title X family planning funding that comes from the federal government through the state.
A post on the council’s website challenges claims made by Scott in response to the group’s push to completely defund Planned Parenthood in the state.
In early October, Scott’s spokeswoman Jeri Bustamante, directed Breitbart News to the governor’s statement:
The videos about Planned Parenthood are awful. As someone who is pro-life and a father and a grandfather, I believe we must not tolerate any gross disregard for human life. We took aggressive, immediate action to investigate Planned Parenthood offices in Florida when the horrific videos were released. When we found that some of their facilities were not complying with state law, we held them accountable.
Additionally, Bustamante provided the following:
FUNDING BACKGROUND FROM THE PRESS OFFICE:
- Federal law prohibits the use of Medicaid funds to pay for abortions except in cases of endangerment to the mother, rape or incest.
- Only around $45,000 in state match goes through the federal Medicaid program to Planned Parenthood offices in our state and that is guided through the federal Medicaid formula in compliance with federal law.
- The state has contracts at three Planned Parenthood clinics which are used for newborn health screens and various health services.
- Those contracts require Planned Parenthood to comply with all state and federal laws.
“States not only have the obligation, but the legal right to terminate the Medicaid contracts of those healthcare providers who are no longer deemed qualified,” Florida Family Policy Council counters. “In fact, the powers of a state Medicaid program to exclude a provider are broader than those of the federal government.”
The council observes that the exclusion of Medicaid providers from the state contract is fairly common and rarely challenged.
“According to the HHS Office of the Inspector General, over 9,000 providers have been excluded as Medicaid providers over the last two decades,” the council states. “In Florida, executive action has terminated hundreds over the past two decades. Exclusion of a Medicaid provider is thus nothing new.”
The council further points out the many audits and investigations of Planned Parenthood facilities throughout the country that have led to allegations of waste, fraud, and illegal activity.
“Planned Parenthood chapters across the country work together as a ‘federation’ and have an extensive record of audits, investigations and fines,” the group observes, “and are currently being investigated, criminally and civilly, at every level for offenses including failure to report statutory rape, failure to comply with parental involvement laws, and failure to comply with health and safety clinic regulations.”
Stemberger says Scott can act through executive order to terminate the state’s Medicare contract with Planned Parenthood.
“We’re asking the Governor to take an immediate executive action and do two things,” he said, according to WUSF. “One: cut and terminate Florida’s Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood. And two: discontinue the subcontracts under Title X funds with Broward and Collier County.”
“Whether or not you’re going to force taxpayers to fund abortion is the litmus test for whether you’re pro-life,” Stemberger added. “We’re asking him to lead. We’re asking him to lead on an issue other than just jobs.”
Other states that have thus far attempted to eliminate Planned Parenthood’s federal funds have been threatened with action by the Obama administration, a close ally of the abortion industry giant. Additionally, Planned Parenthood has filed lawsuits against those states and – by and large – federal judges have taken its side. Most of the governors of those states have said they will appeal those decisions.