A federal appeals court on Monday delivered a major win to the pro-life community in Texas and Louisiana when it ruled that officials in the two states can cut off funding to Planned Parenthood.
The full 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed earlier decisions and gave the green light for Texas and Louisiana to pull Medicaid funding from Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.
Eleven of the court’s 16 justices signed the majority opinion. Five Planned Parenthood facilities had joined seven individuals in filing the lawsuit.
The Texas case arose when the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), a pro-life organization, released videos showing Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast representatives discussing fetal tissue procurement. The state then told Planned Parenthood it was terminating the Medicaid agreement, and Planned Parenthood sued.
“Medicaid beneficiaries have an ‘absolute right’ … to receive services from a provider whom the State has determined is ‘qualified,’ but beneficiaries have no right under the statute to challenge a State’s determination that a provider is unqualified,” the majority opinion said.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton applauded Monday’s decision.
“The Fifth Circuit correctly rejected Planned Parenthood’s efforts to prevent Texas from excluding them from the state’s Medicaid program,” Paxton said. “Undercover video plainly showed Planned Parenthood admitting to morally bankrupt and unlawful conduct, including violations of federal law by manipulating the timing and methods of abortions to obtain fetal tissue for their own research. Planned Parenthood is not a ‘qualified’ provider under the Medicaid Act, and it should not receive public funding through the Medicaid program.”
The ruling impacts Texas and Louisiana but also could affect Mississippi, which is within the Fifth Circuit.
Planned Parenthood said the decision will harm low-income women.
“Too many Texans face unacceptable barriers to health care, especially people of color and low-income individuals and families,” Ken Lambrecht, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, said in a statement. “This ruling only puts health care out of reach for more low-income Texans – during a pandemic, no less. Regardless, Planned Parenthood health centers are open and providing essential health services. We will continue to stand up for our patients and their access to the provider of their choice.”
The ruling could be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.