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Federal appeals court rules Arkansas can defund Planned Parenthood

Today, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the state of Arkansas is allowed to end its contract with Planned Parenthood as a Medicaid provider.

In 2015, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson chose to defund Planned Parenthood in response to the Center for Medical Progress’s undercover videos featuring high-level Planned Parenthood employees describing the organization’s participation in the harvesting and trafficking of aborted fetal body parts.

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As Live Action News’ Danny David reported in 2016, “In January, a federal judge granted Planned Parenthood’s motion for class-action status in its lawsuit challenging Hutchinson’s decision.” Three women signed on with Planned Parenthood to bring the suit. But according to Politico, the appeals court ruled, in a 2-1 decision, that “the patients do not have the right to challenge the state’s Medicaid contract decision.”

The AP notes, “U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker initially ordered the state to continue the payments to three patients who had sued over the move and later expanded that order to anyone who seeks or wants to obtain services from the organization’s health centers in Arkansas.”

But the AP wasn’t quite accurate in claiming that “[n]one of the money” ($51,000) received by Planned Parenthood in the fiscal year prior to the decision to defund “paid for abortions.” As Live Action News has shown, the money given to abortion facilities like Planned Parenthood may not directly pay for abortions, but that money pays for the center’s daily operations, which includes funding for the physicians committing abortions under the same roof as other services. In other words, the money is fungible:

Live Action News’ Carole Novielli points out:

… [A]s long as the abortion corporation keeps the equivalent of two ledgers, your tax dollars can be used to pay for the same staffers that also help with and/or commit abortions. Prorated salaries, same facilities, same staff, same waiting rooms and counselors — and we are supposed to believe that our tax dollars are not funding abortion? This is insane logic.

Arkansas’ decision to defund is also wise for another reason: Planned Parenthood’s history with Medicaid is less than stellar. A recent report from the Charlotte Lozier Institute uncovered rampant Medicaid fraud on the part of the abortion corporation. As Rebecca Downs reported for Live Action News in January 2017:

…[T]here have been 51 audits or reviews of Planned Parenthood affiliates, and nearly all of them found the organization committing fraud through overbilling. What’s more, of the organizations audited, only Planned Parenthood was found to engage in such abuse.

The 30-page report details state audits spanning years, with staggering numbers. As much as $5.2 million was overbilled in one year in one audit; the average overbilling amount was more than $94,000.

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