Appeals Court Tells Arkansas It Can Defund Planned Parenthood

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Nov 15, 2017   |   12:19PM   |   Little Rock, AR

In another victory for Arkansas taxpayers, a federal appeals court decided not to hear an appeal Monday to force the state to fund the abortion chain Planned Parenthood.

A panel of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals previously ruled that the state may block Medicaid funding to the abortion group, but Planned Parenthood Great Plains and three patients appealed to the full court.

On Monday, the full court decided not to hear the appeal, allowing the panel’s ruling to stand, the AP reports.

Pro-life Gov. Asa Hutchinson praised the ruling in a statement.

“It is important for the state to have the clear authority to terminate Medicaid providers who act in unethical ways and in violation of state policy,” Hutchinson said. “The decision early on to terminate Planned Parenthood as a provider was the right decision, and I am delighted with the decision of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in affirming the right of the State to take this action.”

Judd Deere, a spokesman for state Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, emphasized to the Democrat Gazette the importance of states being allowed to cut of tax dollars to groups engaging in unethical practices.

“… [the ruling] reaffirms that Planned Parenthood and the three patients it­ recruited could not contest in federal court Arkansas’s determination that a medical provider has engaged in misconduct that merits disqualification from the Medicaid program,” Deere said in an email.

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Attorney Bettina Brownstein, who represents the Planned Parenthood patients, said they are considering the possibility of appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Lawmakers in Arkansas voted to defund the abortion chain of Medicaid dollars in 2015 after a series of undercover videos showed Planned Parenthood potentially illegally selling aborted baby body parts. Abortion activists have been challenging the law in the courts ever since then.

Here’s more from the Democrat Gazette:

It remains unclear when Planned Parenthood could stop receiving Medicaid dollars in Arkansas. Amy Webb, a spokesman for the state Department of Human Services, said the 8th Circuit must issue a mandate to the district court.

“Once that happens, we will turn off the Medicaid provider number,” she said in an email.

A spokesman for Planned Parenthood Great Plains, which oversees the provider’s two Arkansas clinics — one each in Little Rock and Fayetteville — said the clinics are continuing to see Medicaid recipients.

In 2015, Planned Parenthood received more than $51,000 in taxpayer-funded Medicaid payments in Arkansas. Even though the funding does not go to abortions directly, it is fungible and frees up money to promote and perform abortions.

When the state defunded the abortion business in 2015, Hutchinson expressed his outrage at the abortion chain’s barbaric practices.

“It is apparent that after the recent revelations on the actions of Planned Parenthood, that this organization does not represent the values of the people of our state and Arkansas is better served by terminating any and all existing contracts with them. This includes their affiliated organization, Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma,” Hutchinson said at the time.

In a statement, Hutchinson said he was ending their contracts after videos surfaced showing top Planned Parenthood executives haggling over the price of aborted babies’ body parts, admitting to altering abortion procedures to procure better organs for harvesting and casually discussing ways their doctors can “crush” unborn babies to obtain fully intact body parts.

Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion business in the United States, performing more than 320,000 abortions on unborn babies every year.