Arkansas is defending its decision to de-fund the Planned Parenthood abortion business after it sold aborted babies and it has appealed a judge’s decision forcing the state to continue funding while Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit continues.
In Arkansas, an Obama-appointed federal judge reinstated Planned Parenthood of the Heartlands (PPH) contract with Medicaid after pro-life Governor Asa Hutchinson announced he was ending state contracts with the abortion company.
In a press release last month, Governor Hutchinson said he was ending their contracts after videos surfaced showing their top executives haggling over the price of aborted babies’ body parts, admitting to altering abortion procedures to procure salable organs for harvesting and casually discussing ways their doctors can “crush” unborn babies to obtain fully intact parts.
However, federal judge Christine Baker has decided that suspending Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood would harm the organization and the three women who are suing over abortion. In her ruling, Judge Baker wrote, “At this stage of the proceedings, the court finds that the threat of irreparable harm to PPH and Jane Does, and the public interest, outweighs the immediate interests and potential injuries to (the state).”
In a statement following the decision, Gov. Hutchinson said, “As governor, I disagree with the Court’s decision. Ethical conduct by Medicaid providers is a relevant factor for the state to consider. Hopefully, the court or a higher court will reconsider the preliminary decision once the facts are fully developed. It is disappointing that a judge appointed by President Obama does not give sufficient weight to the morally repugnant conduct of Planned Parenthood displayed in a series of recently released videos.”
Now, the state has officially, appealed. Here’s more on that decision:
The solicitor general of Arkansas announced Monday that he would appeal the judge’s ruling, which was handed down on Friday. The move escalates an ongoing national legal battle over allegations that Planned Parenthood has mishandled aborted fetal tissue.
The three women were listed in a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood as it tries to protect its state funding. Planned Parenthood has sued three states, including Arkansas, for attempting to cancel its Medicaid contracts after a series of undercover videos accused it of wrongdoing. The move by the Arkansas solicitor general could hint at future litigation in other states.
Hutchinson said Friday he would direct the state Department of Human Services to prohibit funding to Planned Parenthood for all services except those provided to the three plaintiffs, identified in the suit as Jane Does Nos. 1-3. On Tuesday, the attorney general’s office notified the judge it will appeal the preliminary injunction.
The Hutchinson administration says undercover videos released by an anti-abortion group suggest that Planned Parenthood facilities in other states may have illegally sold human fetal tissue from abortions to researchers for profit and altered abortion procedures to obtain tissue suitable for donation. The videos also have prompted calls by Republicans in Congress to defund Planned Parenthood.
In a few of the most recent Planned Parenthood expose’ videos, the abortion company was caught harvesting the brain of an aborted baby who was still alive, and the tenth video shows Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of specific body parts, including the heart, eyes and “gonads” of unborn babies.
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In August, Arkansas Democratic Rep. Mike Holcomb of Pine Buff changed his party affiliation largely because of his party’s support for Planned Parenthood in light of revelations about their organ harvesting business. He said, “I’ve chosen to join the Republican Party because I firmly believe that the conservative values they represent best align with my own personal beliefs and convictions. I believe in the sanctity of life. I believe in traditional marriage. I believe in helping Arkansans. Moving forward, I am excited to caucus and work with my fellow Republican legislators as we focus on Arkansas—her needs, values, and future.”
Rep. Holcomb served the state of Arkansas as a Jefferson Country District Judge and spent 28 years in public education. In the state, he represents District 10, which includes parts of Cleveland, Jefferson, Grant, Lincoln and Drew counties. Currently, he is the vice chairman of the House Committee on Public Transportation. His decision to switch parties will give Republicans a 64-35-1 majority in the House and a 24-11 majority in the Senate. In 2012, Republicans took control of the Arkansas House and Senate.