In Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas v. Smith, videos released by right-to-life group, American Center for Medical Progress, allegedly showing a Planned Parenthood lab technician negotiating the sale of fetal organs to an undercover journalist, resulted in the January 20th ruling handed down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The decision reversed a lower court decision blocking Texas from stripping Planned Parenthood of its state Medicaid funding.
Planned Parenthood adamantly denies the conservative group’s allegation, maintaining the tapes were “doctored”.
The Trump Administration and the Republicans in Congress have long sought to prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving Federal funds to pay for PAP smears and mammograms, as well as for birth control for young women who rely on Planned Parenthood’s services.
At the same time, older women who can no longer become pregnant increasingly seek out young, healthy ovum donors in return for financial remuneration.
However, whether or not the hotly-contested allegations leveled at Planned Parenthood’s business practices are true, shouldn’t place Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid recipients in jeopardy.
Planned Parenthood’s 30 affiliates in Texas currently receive $3.4 million in Medicaid funding, according to the National Catholic Register.
Citing the lower court decision, The National Catholic Register reports, “the [Planned Parenthood] affiliates sued in Federal court to block the termination of funding, and the district court granted an injunction for the plaintiffs in part because, in the February 2017 opinion of district Judge Sam Sparks, the undercover videos had not been authenticated and appeared to have been edited.”
The Washington Post reports that in 2011, the Texas legislature cut the two-year budget for funding family planning from $111 million to $38 million in an effort to defund Planned Parenthood.
“After these cuts, 82 Texas family planning clinics—one of every four in the state—closed or stopped providing family planning services…. Organizations that remained open, many with reduced hours, were often unable to offer the most effective methods of contraception, such as IUDs and contraceptive implants, to women who wanted them,” the Post concludes.
Hanging on Kavanaugh’s and Roberts’ Decision
Surprising legal analysts, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh voted in December against hearing an appeal brought by Kansas and Louisiana seeking to terminate Medicaid contracts with Planned Parenthood, The National Catholic Register reported last month, signaling the Court might decide to leave Roe’s settled law in place, at least for now.
“Kansas and Louisiana had attempted to block Medicaid funds from being used for preventive care services provided by Planned Parenthood. A lower court ruled that this policy violated Federal law, and the states were attempting to appeal this decision,” The National Catholic Register reports.
“Only three —Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch—voted to grant certiorari. This is one short of the four needed.
“Voting against certiorari were newly confirmed Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan,” The Catholic Register concludes.
NPR’s Nina Totenberg writes, “In the aftermath of the explosive and divisive Kavanaugh confirmation hearings this fall, and with two new justices on the court in less than a year, Roberts and most of the other justices have gone out of their way to paint the court as a nonpartisan, apolitical institution.”
The Washington Times adds, “The Supreme Court watchers are hanging on every sign from Kavanaugh and Roberts as to how they may rule on abortion given the new makeup of the bench.”
“While it’s difficult to assess what implications this particular decision says about their thinking on the issue, the decision not to hear these cases is at least noteworthy, as it suggests a certain level of caution on taking on contentious cases involving abortion in any way.”