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Arkansas can continue denying Planned Parenthood funding

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LITTLE ROCK, August 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Arkansas may continue to deny Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood, thanks to a federal judge who  refused Monday to grant the abortion giant's latest request to restore the funding.

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson canceled the state’s Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood in 2015, a move the organization took to court. U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker originally sided with them but was reversed by an appeals court, the Associated Press reports, and came down against the abortion giant this time around, saying that she would not issue a new ruling. 

Arkansas Online explains that Baker’s 2015 ruling was based on the argument that Medicaid patients had the right to procure services from whichever provider they prefer, which an 8th Circuit panel rejected. Planned Parenthood’s latest argument was that canceling the contract violated it and its patients’ rights to equal protection and freedom of association.

The three women serving as the plaintiffs in Planned Parenthood’s original complaint claimed that the abortion giant was their preferred medical provider for a variety of reasons related to convenience and customer satisfaction. Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics outnumber Planned Parenthood’s two Arkansas locations by a factor of 89.

This week, Baker ruled that the Planned Parenthood centers "have not met their burden of proof for a preliminary injunction on their constitutional claims," reasoning that the lack of a judicial consensus on similar questions nationwide shows that the abortionists’ likelihood of succeeding on the merits can’t be determined yet.

Medicaid visits accounted for approximately 20% of all Planned Parenthood’s patients at its Little Rock and Fayetteville centers in 2017, suggesting that the abortion giant has a significant financial stake in the outcome.

Hutchinson’s original move to cut off Planned Parenthood was driven by the 2015 release of the Center for Medical Progress’ undercover videos that exposed Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of aborted babies’ organs for illegal profit, as well as a variety of other quotes alluding to potential crimes and generally shocking language about the destruction of human life.

Baker’s ruling is the second major setback Planned Parenthood has suffered in Arkansas recently. In May, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to block a state law requiring physicians who dispense abortion-inducing drugs to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, which forced it to cancel abortion appointments. Planned Parenthood’s Arkansas facilities only perform chemical abortions.  The unaffiliated Family Planning Services in Little Rock is the only abortion facility in the state to commit surgical abortions.

A final ruling on the merits of the case is still pending.

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