Judge forces Arkansas to keep funding Planned Parenthood, for now
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas, September 21, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- A federal judge has temporarily reinstated funds for Arkansas' two Planned Parenthood clinics.
On Friday, Judge Kristine Baker issued a two-week injunction against Gov. Asa Hutchinson's order to strip Planned Parenthood of the Heartland (PPH) of $51,000 in state and federal Medicaid funds. Hutchinson had broken the state's contract with the abortion giant because of the Center for Medical Progress' investigative videos showing illegal abortions and illegal fetal harvesting by Planned Parenthood clinics.
Neither clinic in Arkansas provides abortions; however, both supply contraceptives, many of which act as abortifacients. The state said its decision was legal because the contract with the state allows either party to revoke the contract as long as 30 days' notice is provided, according to court documents.
Baker's decision will end on October 2 unless the Obama appointee chooses to continue the injunction. In its argument, PPH said that prior rulings against states that stripped Planned Parenthood of Medicaid funds -- specifically, Arizona and Indiana -- show that taking away such funds is illegal.
In a media statement provided to LifeSiteNews, Hutchinson said, "As governor, I disagree with the Court’s decision. Ethical conduct by Medicaid providers is a relevant factor for the state to consider. Hopefully, the Court or a higher court will reconsider the preliminary decision once the facts are fully developed. It is disappointing that a judge appointed by President Obama does not give sufficient weight to the morally repugnant conduct of Planned Parenthood displayed in a series of recently released videos.”
A spokesperson with PPH who only identified herself to LifeSiteNews as Angie declined to comment, saying, "We do not recognize you as a legitimate news source."
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Rita Sklar, Executive Director of the ACLU in Arkansas, praised Baker's decision. "To date, two federal Courts of Appeals, the Seventh and Ninth Circuits, have blocked similar laws enacted in Indiana and Arizona, and the Supreme Court declined to review both of those rulings," she said. "We are confident in the merits of this case and hope the federal courts will ultimately rule on the side of the women who rely on Medicaid programs for basic, preventive health care."
“We are grateful the court has ruled on the side of the women, men and teens in Arkansas who rely on Planned Parenthood for care,” said Suzanna de Baca, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. “For our patients, this isn’t about politics—it’s about staying healthy and building a future.”
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Casey Mattox told a congressional subcommittee last week that "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."