Texas, Louisiana May Cut Medicaid Funding For Family Planning, According To Federal Court Of Appeal Rules
A federal appeals court ruled on Monday that Texas and Louisiana could cut Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood clinics – a move supported by opponents of the law, but opposed by advocates who said it affects a variety of non-abortion health services for low-income women.
The decision was made by the 5th United States Court of Appeals in New Orleans. While it expressly overturned the decisions in Texas and Louisiana, it also affects Mississippi, which is under the jurisdiction of the 5th Circuit. The matter will likely go to the United States Supreme Court.
Opponents of legal abortion have long sought to deny federal Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood clinics.
Abortion rights advocates and women’s health advocates argued the move would reduce access and choice for low-income women seeking cancer screening, birth control and other services health care services unrelated to abortion – even in states where family planning clinics do not operate. abortions.
The decision of the 5th U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans overturns an earlier three-judge appeal panel ruling that barred Texas from enforcing its Medicaid funding ban on Planned Parenthood. He also specifically overturned a ruling in a separate case preventing Louisiana from banning funding for Planned Parenthood. A panel of three judges in 2015 ruled against the ban and that decision was upheld when the full court stuck 7-7 in 2017, when there were only 14 active judges on the court. .
Court staff have since changed. Six candidates for Republican President Trump now. Four of them participated in Monday’s case (one was challenged and another joined the court too late to participate) and all four joined the opinion of Judge Priscilla Owen for a majority of 11 members.
Owen wrote that the seven women who sued Texas officials forhad no legal right to challenge the state’s determination that Planned Parenthood was not qualified to provide the services. She noted that a federal law “unambiguously provides that a Medicaid beneficiary has the right to obtain services from the qualified provider of their choice,” but added that it “does not unambiguously state that a beneficiary may challenge or otherwise challenge a decision that the supplier of its choice is unqualified. “
In dissent, Judge James Dennis wrote that the decision conflicts with decisions of other circuits and will leave millions of people in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, which falls under 5th Circuit jurisdiction, “vulnerable to an attack. unlawful state interference in their choice of health care providers. “
Defunding efforts in Texas and Louisiana followed the publication by anti-abortion activists of secretly recorded videos in 2015. A state inspector general said the video appeared to show that Planned Parenthood had incorrectly changed the way women abortions were performed so that better specimens could be preserved for medical research. . 13 state investigations into the videos ended without criminal charges, and Planned Parenthood officials have denied any wrongdoing.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton applauded Monday’s ruling, saying videos showed Planned Parenthood was guilty of “morally bankrupt and illegal conduct.”
Planned Parenthood did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press.