MOBILE, Alabama, December 1, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Alabama taxpayers are once again on the hook for funding Planned Parenthood — plus $51,000 in court fees agreed to between the state's Planned Parenthood affiliate and the governor's office.
According to the Montgomery Advertiser, Governor Robert Bentley and Planned Parenthood Southeast filed for a settlement in court on Monday to end the abortion giant's lawsuit against the state. The deal comes one month after Bentley's office was ordered to reinstate Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood.
The Advertiser reports that the draft agreement restores Planned Parenthood's funding in the state, and also requires Planned Parenthood Southeast to say it will follow state law on fetal tissue donations and related programs. The abortion company also declares it does not participate in such programs.
In exchange, Medicaid funds will be reinstated after months of withholding the public dollars. Additionally, the state will pay $51,000 in legal fees.
Bentley was defiant in a statement, claiming that it was pressure from states and Congress that caused Planned Parenthood Federation of America to abandon receiving compensation for harvesting fetal tissue and body parts.
“I will always fight to protect the rights of the unborn,” said Bentley. “If any medical provider in Alabama engages in practices that are contrary to accepted standards in the future, we will use every means necessary and available to ensure that those practices end.”
In a statement, Planned Parenthood Southeast CEO Staci Fox said that her group was “pleased the state has backed off of a costly and wasteful attempt to restrict care for Alabama women.”
The judge who ruled for Planned Parenthood said the state didn't have good reason to withhold funds from the abortion company, and cited legal arguments from the Obama administration that states cannot withhold funds from Planned Parenthood affiliates.
However, a leading pro-life attorney told Congress that this interpretation of federal Medicaid law is incorrect.
“The idea that a Medicaid provider … say a gynecologist, accused of abusing women, the idea that we would require that Medicaid continue to provide funding to that doctor until a jury actually convicts would be abhorrent,” Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Casey Mattox told a congressional subcommittee in September.
According to Mattox, “In the last two decades or so, about 9,000 providers [were] excluded from Medicaid. In most of those cases, they're completely uncontroversial. … When it's Planned Parenthood, however, you have the Centers for Medicaid Services reinterpret the Medicaid statute to deny states the opportunity to exclude those providers.”
“That is a privilege that other providers don't get to have,” said Mattox.