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Many are upset at the Supreme Court’s decision to not review a set of cases that could have brought clarity to whether an individual has the right to sue their state government for withholding Medicaid funds from certain healthcare providers, some of which included Planned Parenthood. As pro-lifers think back to January 2018, we remember when President Trump rescinded Obama-era guidance that had made it harder for states to defund abortion-performing entities like Planned Parenthood. So, what just happened?After undercover videos were released in 2015 that showed Planned Parenthood selling the remains of aborted baby parts, several states moved to defund them by withholding Medicaid funds. Pro-abortion individuals and Planned Parenthood themselves began to sue many of the states for this action. In 2016, pro-abortion President Obama took precautions and issued guidance that basically tried to scare states into not defunding entities that performed abortions, telling them they could be in violation of the law if they did so.In reality, due to the Hyde Amendment, Medicaid dollars cannot go towards paying for abortion, except in cases of rape, incest or life endangerment, and most states follow this federal standard, although they do have the option to cover abortion using explicitly “state” Medicaid funds. However, Medicaid money is fungible for entities that perform other services aside from abortions, which many Americans do not like and thus have already made it clear that they do not want their tax dollars entangled with the abortion business.Cases involving state attempts to defund entities like Planned Parenthood were split on the question of whether an individual has the right to sue states for withdrawing such funding. When cases involving Kansas and Louisiana’s attempts to withdraw this funding reached the Supreme Court, many were looking to the Court to bring clarity to this issue—but they did not. Instead, they just kicked the can down the road to be resolved another day. And no doubt that day for resolution will come. The underlying question to settle is whether states have the right to decide how to best use their Medicaid dollars.However, it’s important to remember that the Supreme Court’s decision to punt this to another day does not block and nor should it discourage states from their pursuits to defund Planned Parenthood and reallocate their Medicaid funds to better healthcare options for women. President Trump’s action rescinding President Obama’s 2016 guidance freed states from the fear of federal government punishment if they decided to defund entities like Planned Parenthood, and states should continue to capitalize on this.We will not forget the horrific scandals of Planned Parenthood that brought us to this place to begin with. From committing over a third of the nation’s abortions, to Medicaid fraud, botched abortions, declining services, and participation in the sale of aborted baby parts, Planned Parenthood is not a place that should qualify as healthcare and does not deserve our tax dollars. For every Planned Parenthood, there are 20 more qualified federal healthcare centers that do not perform abortions and yet provide more services for women. Let’s use them!
Over the past several years, a number of states have tried to terminate Medicaid contracts with Planned Parenthood for various reasons, not the least of which because of videos released depicting Planned Parenthood officials engaging in the sale of fetal tissue and body parts. But how much discretion does a state have to terminate those contracts? Can an individual sue any time they disagree? This question goes beyond the topic of Planned Parenthood funding specifically. But today, the United States Supreme Court declined to review a set of cases that could have provided an answer, leaving in place several lower court decisions that have blocked state executive decisions to terminate Medicaid contracts with and defund Planned Parenthood.In Gee v. Planned Parenthood of Gulf Coast (5th Cir.) and Andersen v. Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri (10th Cir.), two circuit courts separately agreed that individuals have the right to sue states for withdrawing Medicaid funding from and thus limiting access to providers. Three other circuits agree—but this is not an opinion unanimously held. In Does v. Gillespie, the 8th Circuit held that individuals do not have this right.In other words, in five circuits, according to Justice Clarence Thomas (writing in dissent from the court’s decision today (see pp. 9-12)), “individuals could sue whenever a state changes medical product providers or services.” Sound like bad policy? At the very least, it’s one inconsistently applied across the circuits.For one, states need clarity on this issue, and they still don’t have it.Justice Thomas called it “the Supreme Court’s job” “to clarify the confusion in the law in this area.” True. The Court’s own rules—and caselaw—provide as much.“So what explains the Court’s refusal to do its job here?” Justice Thomas posited. “I suspect it has something to do with the fact that some respondents in these cases are named ‘Planned Parenthood.’”As Justice Thomas notes, “the question presented here would not even affect Planned Parenthood’s ability to challenge the States’ decisions” to defund. But Justice Thomas suggests that the political cloud that hovers over the topics of abortion and Planned Parenthood prevent even the most sterile and noncontroversial legal issues from getting the attention they deserve. We’re inclined to agree.This case “has nothing to do with abortion,” Justice Thomas points out. It’s just about a private right of action under Medicaid—involving whether individuals can sue, for instance, whenever a state changes medical product providers or services.Are these cases considered hot potatoes because of their broader abortion defunding implications? Possibly.Right now, 11 states have taken action to defund abortion in Medicaid programs: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, and Texas. Florida’s measure wound up in the courts, and was blocked. Other cases, like a challenge to an Ohio funding law, involve payment to abortion providers in other contexts.These cases are not directly affected by the Supreme Court’s actions today. But the optics certainly wouldn’t look good for Planned Parenthood if a Supreme Court decision, even on different legal grounds, meant that states could go forward with their decision to defund Planned Parenthood.One of these days, the Supreme Court will have to confront the issue.
Break a Rock for Luck, Churches Provide Hope in Louisiana, and Another Earth?Churches Provide Hope in LouisianaAnother disaster has hit Louisiana, this time in the form of a major flood. People have literally watched everything they own wash away. But Sunday services weren't used only as a time for ...
A police department in Louisiana will no longer host or promote citywide monthly prayer vigils following a complaint from one of the nation's leading atheist groups.
I have been pushing hard lately to let people know that, no matter how big and powerful the opposition, the assault from big government forces can be stopped. That's why I want to tell you about a recent major victory in Louisiana where a wonderful,...The post Not One Inch… The Battle Cry For Property Rights appeared first on American Policy Center.
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