This week a federal appeals court ruled Arkansas could cut Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood. This ruling comes following nearly two years of litigation in federal court.
Below is a timeline of this issue and the legal battle surrounding it.
- November 8, 1988: Voters in Arkansas passed Amendment 68 to the Arkansas Constitution prohibiting public funds from paying for abortion, except to save the mother’s life.
- July 25, 1994: Following a lawsuit by an abortion clinic in Little Rock, a federal court blocked enforcement of Amendment 68, saying it violated the Hyde Amendment–a rider on the federal budget Congress passed in 1994 prohibiting public funding of abortions except in cases of rape or incest or to save the life of the mother.
- July 25, 1995: The Eight Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s ruling.
- March 18, 1996: The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the ruling, essentially saying Amendment 68 could only be blocked insofar as it conflicted with the Hyde Amendment. Practically speaking, this has prevented public funding of abortion in most cases, with the exception of abortions paid for with Medicaid funds in certain circumstances permitted by the federal Hyde Amendment.
- August 14, 2015: Governor Asa Hutchinson directed the Department of Human Services to terminate its Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood.
- October 2, 2015: U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker issued a preliminary injunction forcing the State of Arkansas to continue making Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood following a lawsuit by three of Planned Parenthood’s patients.
- September 29, 2016: U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker expanded that ruling to apply to all of Planned Parenthood’s patients in Arkansas. Arkansas’ attorney general appealed the ruling to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
- August 16, 2017: A three judge panel from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Arkansas can decline to provide Medicaid reimbursements to abortion providers.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
On Wednesday a three judge panel from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Arkansas can decline to provide Medicaid reimbursements to abortion providers. The ruling comes as part of an ongoing lawsuit filed after the State of Arkansas cut Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood in 2015.
Family Council President Jerry Cox issued a statement saying, “The Eighth Circuit did the right thing today. Arkansans have made it clear time and again they do not want tax money going to abortion providers. Many Arkansans have moral objections to abortion. They don’t want their hard-earned money subsidizing abortion providers.”
Cox praised Governor Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge for defending the state’s decision to cut Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood. “Governor Hutchinson’s bold leadership is what led the state to cut ties with Planned Parenthood in the first place. Our governor has always been a staunch pro-life advocate. Arkansas’ attorney general is defending at least seven pro-life laws and policies in court right now. I don’t know of any attorney general in America who is doing more to fight for the right to life. Her team has won some major victories in the past few weeks, and I believe we will see more in the months to come.”
Photo Credit: By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
The editors at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette published an op-ed today that is nothing short of brilliant.
The editorial, which I encourage you to read by clicking here, it titled, “The abortionist’s song.” It addresses U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker’s decision to enjoin four good, pro-life laws the Arkansas Legislature passed earlier this year.
The editors open the column by writing,
It could be a Roman spectacle, only instead of the madding crowd cheering as Christians are fed to the lions, Arkansas’ abortionists are hailing a federal judge’s opinion halting certain abortion restrictions on the least and most innocent of these, the unborn. Their lives will continue to be snuffed out even before they first see the light of day. Not only is this darkness so thick it can be felt now to descend on this state’s jurisprudence, but–irony of ironies–it is hailed as a bright shining light.
The beginning of wisdom may be to call things by their right names, but this ruling by a federal judge mistakes abortion for a new freedom: the freedom to kill. The ruling by Her Honor Kristine Baker kept three new anti-abortion laws from taking effect in this increasingly (un)Natural State. . . .
Talk about powerful! This is a column every pro-life Arkansan needs to read. Pick up a copy of today’s paper, or click here to read it online.