With the ACLU at its side, Planned Parenthood has filed a lawsuit against Alabama following the state’s decision to terminate its Medicaid contract. This comes in the wake of the recent video scandal exposing the abortion provider’s practices of harvesting aborted baby body parts to sell on the open market.
Planned Parenthood Southeast, which has clinics in Birmingham and Mobile, says Gov. Robert Bentley’s (R) order to stop its flow of federal funds is illegal and will keep low-income women from healthcare services they need.
“Unfortunately, we find ourselves in court once again with state officials who are hell-bent on ending a woman’s ability to make her own deeply personal and private healthcare decisions,” said Planned Parenthood Southeast President Staci Fox, according to the Washington Examiner. “Only this time, instead of going after safe and legal abortion as he has each of the past four years, now Governor Bentley is trying to dictate where a woman can go for contraception and other preventive care if she’s enrolled in Medicaid.”
Republicans, however, have said federal funds that have previously been directed to Planned Parenthood could go to other federally qualified health centers that provide the same services but do not offer abortions.
Earlier this week, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast filed a lawsuit against Louisiana following Gov. Bobby Jindal’s decision to end the state’s Medicaid contract with the organization.
Both Bentley and Jindal have said their states are not in violation of federal law in terminating their Medicaid contracts since their contracts with Planned Parenthood give either party the right to cancel at will with 15 days’ notice for Alabama and a 30-day notice for Louisiana.
The Obama administration – a close ally of Planned Parenthood – has threatened states attempting to defund the nation’s largest provider of abortions with potential violation of federal law and, ultimately, the complete cut-off of Medicaid funds to those states.
In a guidance document from Health and Human Services in 2011, the Obama administration said states are not allowed to exclude providers from Medicaid solely on the basis of the types of services they offer.
The guidance, however, also says that states can exclude providers from Medicaid funding if their engagement in certain criminal acts is proven, a provision that many believe is the case with the videos of Planned Parenthood’s top medical personnel discussing the sale of aborted baby organs and body parts.
“This really hasn’t been tried before,” said Casey Mattox, senior legal counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, according to The Wall Street Journal. “Planned Parenthood has contracts with states that can be terminated for cause. In other situations, the contracts were not terminated for cause.”
Earlier this week, the Obama administration stripped Kansas of its Title X “family planning” funds following the state’s new law that redirected federal Title X funds to public health departments and hospitals, away from Planned Parenthood. The abortion provider sued the state, but the state prevailed in federal appeals court.