Anti-Choice Leaders Violating Federal Law For Ideological AgendaPosted: September 18, 2015
The series of controversial, edited videos making unsubstantiated claims against Planned Parenthood have made headway with anti-choice elected officials across the country. In their drive to outlaw abortion (services not covered by federal funding), they are seizing on the sensationalism of these videos to cut off funding from the leading reproductive health organization in the country. As the majority of federal funds going to Planned Parenthood go through Medicaid reimbursements, these anti-choice legislators are attempting to cut Medicaid funding to go to all Planned Parenthood clinics in their states. As you may have guessed, this is technically against the law.
Back in 2011, Indiana made great strides in outlawing Medicare funding for Planned Parenthood. The state’s legislature argued that the Medicare funds were subsidizing abortion despite the fact that NO funds actually went toward abortion services. They voted to cut this funding only to be rebuked by a federal judge who said that federal law “unambiguously gives Medicaid-eligible patients and individual right” to choose where they get their health care. Basically, cutting off these funds infringes on individuals’ healthcare rights, something Republicans are supposed to oppose.
Other states began attempts to follow the same route over the summer. In Arkansas, Governor Asa Hutchinson vowed to cut off the funding which has led to a lawsuit against the state for violating federal law. A hearing will be held this week to decide or begin deliberations on the validity of Hutchinson’s actions. Louisiana and Alabama are going through similar situations in being opposed by federal law. The Administration in additional to a federal Medicaid agency have told the states that they may not end Medicaid reimbursement just because they object to one of the legal services Planned Parenthood provides- it violates federal law. Louisiana has recently shifted its tactics by trying to cut off the funding based on a legal settlement that took place in Texas two years ago. Fortunately, they cannot do so because there was NO PROOF of unlawful activity by Planned Parenthood.
There are still other states led by anti-choice legislatures that hope to defund Planned Parenthood and cut off Medicaid reimbursements. The legal battles will play out of the coming weeks and months. It is rather unfortunate that countless taxpayer dollars will be spent on elected officials trying to violate federal law. That doesn’t seem very fiscally or legally responsible. What do you think?