Federal Court: Arkansas Can Block Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid Funding

A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that Arkansas may block Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid reimbursement funding in response to the release of videos by undercover journalists that exposed the abortion chain’s alleged profiteering from the sales of aborted baby parts.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) terminated the state’s Medicaid provider agreements with Planned Parenthood in 2015, calling attention to the videos released by the Center for Medical Progress, as NPR reports. Subsequently, three unidentified Planned Parenthood patients (Jane Does) filed a lawsuit against the director of the Arkansas Department of Human Services, claiming they held a federal right to choose their healthcare providers.

A district court then blocked the state from eliminating Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid reimbursements for the three patients. Ultimately, the prohibition was extended to other individuals who use Medicaid for health insurance coverage and seek services at Planned Parenthood.

In a 2-1 decision, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed preliminary injunctions that prohibited Arkansas from eliminating Planned Parenthood from its list of healthcare providers eligible for Medicaid reimbursement.

“The provision of the Medicaid Act does not unambiguously create a federal right for individual patients that can be enforced under § 1983,” Judge Steven Colloton wrote. “We therefore vacate the injunctions.”

In a statement about the decision, Hutchinson said:

In 2015, the state terminated its Medicaid provider agreement with Planned Parenthood because there was evidence that Planned Parenthood and its affiliates were acting in an unethical manner and engaging in what appeared to be wrongful conduct. I am pleased with the ruling of the 8th Circuit today reversing Judge Baker on her injunction that blocked the state from proceeding.

The decision allows the state to proceed with the termination of Planned Parenthood as a Medicaid provider. This is a substantial legal victory for the right of the state to determine whether Medicaid providers are acting in accordance with best practices and affirms the prerogative of the state to make reasoned judgments on the Medicaid program.

In a press statement, Planned Parenthood said the federal court’s rulings would allow a “dangerous law to take effect that would block access to care for Arkansas Medicaid patients who rely on Planned Parenthood for birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, and other preventive health care.”

In citing Hutchinson’s mention of the undercover videos, the abortion chain continues to refer to them as “heavily edited” and “thoroughly discredited.”

Planned Parenthood Federation of America Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley said her organization provides “lifesaving care.”

“This is not over,” she continued. “Extreme politicians are trying to defund and shut down Planned Parenthood — and this is not what Americans want.”

A recent report by the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) – the research arm of the Susan B. Anthony List – demonstrates that, while Planned Parenthood continues to brand itself as a healthcare provider, its primary service is abortion.

The paper illustrates the taxpayer funded group obtains 35 percent of the U.S. abortion market, a figure that well overtakes the market shares of leaders in other industries.

Additionally, CLI president Chuck Donovan and vice president and director of data analytics Dr. James Studnicki found that Planned Parenthood depends primarily on its abortion-centered business model – and is not a significant provider of medical care in the United States, despite its self-promotion as an “irreplaceable” and “life-saving” healthcare provider.

“There is little or no demonstrable capability for definitive diagnosis or a range of treatments for any disease or condition at Planned Parenthood centers,” write Donovan and Studnicki. “With the exception of abortion, Planned Parenthood does not provide any service that is not easily available from alternative providers.”

Planned Parenthood’s own 2015-2016 annual report indicates the organization performed 328,348 abortions – an increase of 4,349 abortions over the 323,999 abortions the group states it performed in 2014-2015.

The group also reported 2,945,059 contraception services in 2014-2015, and 2,808,815 of the same services in its latest report, a drop of 136,244 within a year.

Similarly, Planned Parenthood reports 9,419 prenatal services in its latest report, a significant drop since a year ago, when the group claimed 17,419 of the same services.

In 2014-2015, the group reported having performed 682,208 cancer screening and prevention services. However, in 2015-2016, Planned Parenthood reports 665,234 of the same services, a drop of 16,974.

“Planned Parenthood promotes itself as an indispensable health care provider and community asset, while downplaying its role as the nation’s largest abortion vendor,” Studnicki said. “This fiction is essential to justifying the half billion dollars in annual taxpayer funding they receive, but their own data paint an entirely different picture.”


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