Newsbreak

WIN: Fifth Circuit rules Texas can disqualify Planned Parenthood from Medicaid

Planned Parenthood, Texas

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Monday that Texas can remove Planned Parenthood facilities from the state’s Medicaid program.

Texas moved forward with cutting Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood in 2016 after the Center for Medical Progress released undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood staff appearing to participate in the illegal trafficking of aborted fetal body parts. After a years-long court battle, the Fifth Circuit has overruled a lower court ruling and has sided with the state of Texas.

“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,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in a press release.

“Planned Parenthood is not a ‘qualified’ provider under the Medicaid Act, and should not receive public funding through the Medicaid program,” he added.

READ: Controversial Texas 10-Day Rule leads pro-life group to release video on facts about ‘brain death’

Interestingly, today’s decision runs counter to the Fifth Circuit’s previous ruling in 2016, which held that Louisiana (in Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Inc. v. Gee) could not block Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid funding. That ruling by a three-judge panel was later backed up by a full court 7-7 ruling. At that time, Louisiana appealed to the Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case.

A Fifth Circuit panel ruled in January 2019 that Texas could block Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid funding but said Medicaid patients had the right to challenge such a law. Then in May 2019, the Fifth Circuit held an en banc hearing to reconsider that decision. There are now 16 judges on the Court, and four of those that participated were nominated by President Donald Trump. Eleven of them ruled that Texas could end Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood — and in doing so, overruled the previous Louisiana decision. The Court has also decided that Medicaid patients do not have a right to challenge “a State’s determination that a health care provider is not ‘qualified'” under their Medicaid program.

The case may be headed to the Supreme Court.

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