Fifth Circuit court upholds states’ right to block Planned Parenthood from Medicaid
NEW ORLEANS, November 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – In a victory for pro-life taxpayers across the country, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that Texas and Louisiana were within their lawful powers to deny Medicaid dollars to Planned Parenthood.
Writing for the majority, Judge Priscilla Owen ruled that while the law “unambiguously provides that a Medicaid beneficiary has the right to obtain services from the qualified provider of her choice,” it “does not unambiguously say that a beneficiary may contest or otherwise challenge a determination that the provider of her choice is unqualified.” Instead, the law “make(s) clear that a state agency may determine that a Medicaid provider is unqualified and terminate its Medicaid provider agreement even if the provider is lawfully permitted to provide health services to the general public.”
The Associated Press noted that the ruling reverses a prior decision by a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit. The full court deadlocked on the matter in 2017, but since then it has been joined by six appointees of President Donald Trump, four of whom participated in the current case.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton celebrated the ruling in a statement, noting one of the key reasons why the state determined Planned Parenthood was ineligible.
“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,” Paxton said. “Planned Parenthood is not a ‘qualified’ provider under the Medicaid Act, and it should not receive public funding through the Medicaid program.”
"The State of Texas cited the violations in Planned Parenthood's fetal 'research' programs, documented by (the Center for Medical Progress’) undercover videos, as the basis for terminating the Planned Parenthood network from taxpayer subsidies under Medicaid,” added CMP founder and lead David Daleiden. “The full federal Fifth Circuit's decision this week confirms that our undercover footage is accurate and reliable evidence of serious criminality in the abortion industry and fetal trafficking enterprises, and it affirms the broad authority that state and federal administrators have to defund entities like Planned Parenthood for illegally selling the body parts of aborted infants.
“The Fifth Circuit has marked a clear path for the federal Health and Human Services Department to eliminate all taxpayer subsidies from the big abortion industry,” Daleiden said, “and for the U.S. Department of Justice to finally enforce the law against anyone involved in commodifying children in the womb."
In October, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider a similar case out of South Carolina, though pro-lifers hope and expect the court to be more receptive with the subsequent addition of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a pro-life originalist.