It’s Official: Arkansas Cuts Medicaid Funding for Planned Parenthood

November 28, 2017 | Posted in Abortion | By

After more than two years of wrangling in court, the State of Arkansas has officially cut Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood.

In 2015 Governor Hutchinson ordered the state to quit providing Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood clinics after a series of undercover videos showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of organs and tissue harvested from aborted babies.

Following a lengthy lawsuit, a federal panel of judges ruled last August that the state has the power to cut Medicaid funds to abortion providers.

Planned Parenthood appealed that decision to the entire federal Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Earlier this month the Eighth Circuit said it would let that panel’s good ruling from August stand.

Last week the Eighth Circuit’s decision became final, letting Arkansas officially cut Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood.

This is a major pro-life victory.

Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading abortion provider, and the Medicaid funding it receives from the government helps keep Planned Parenthood in business. Nobody should have to subsidize abortion providers with their tax dollars.

Governor Hutchinson and Attorney General Rutledge have worked hard to ensure the State of Arkansas doesn’t give any money to abortion providers. I am glad Arkansas has a governor who will stand up to the abortion industry — and an attorney general who will defend the right to life in court.

Photo Credit: By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

Where Do the Pro-Life Lawsuits Stand?

November 15, 2017 | Posted in Abortion | By

This week we learned an appeals court will not reconsider a decision that lets Arkansas cut Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood.

If you’re having trouble keeping track of all the different pro-life lawsuits in play right now, you aren’t alone. Here’s a breakdown of where things stand:

  1. Abortion-Inducing Drugs Safety Act: This good law requires abortion drugs to be dispensed according to FDA protocols and requires abortion clinics to contract with a doctor who has hospital admitting privileges. It’s been upheld at the federal Eighth Circuit, but Planned Parenthood is appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.
  2. Medicaid Funding: In 2015 Arkansas cut Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood. A panel of judges ruled the state can do that; Planned Parenthood appealed to the entire Eighth Circuit. The Eighth Circuit has decided not to reconsider the case.
  3. Dismemberment Abortion: In 2017 the legislature prohibited dismemberment abortions. U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker blocked the law. Attorney General Rutledge has asked the Eighth Circuit to overturn that decision.
  4. Sex-Selection Abortion: In 2017 the legislature passed a law prohibiting abortions performed due to the baby’s sex. U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker blocked the law. Attorney General Rutledge has asked the Eighth Circuit to overturn that decision.
  5. Reporting Requirements: In 2017 the Arkansas Legislature amended some of the reporting requirements for abortions performed on teen girls. U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker blocked the law. Attorney General Rutledge has asked the Eighth Circuit to overturn that decision.
  6. Prohibiting Buying and Selling of Aborted Babies: In 2017 the legislature passed a law generally preventing people from using aborted babies for scientific research and requiring aborted babies to be respectfully cremated or buried. U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker blocked the law. Attorney General Rutledge has asked the Eighth Circuit to overturn that decision.
  7. Clinic Inspections: In 2017 the legislature passed a law ensuring any clinic that fails a health inspection will stop doing abortions immediately. A lawsuit is pending regarding the law, but no ruling has been issued.

Another Pro-Life Victory: Appeals Court Won’t Re-Hear Abortion Funding Decision

November 14, 2017 | Posted in Abortion | By

Yesterday the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals announced it will not reconsider a recent ruling that lets Arkansas cut Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading abortion provider. In 2015 Governor Asa Hutchinson directed the state to stop giving Medicaid reimbursements to the organization after a series of undercover videos showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of organs and tissue harvested from aborted babies.

Following a lengthy lawsuit, a three-judge panel ruled in August that the state has the power to cut Medicaid funds to abortion providers. Planned Parenthood appealed that decision to the entire Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Yesterday the Eighth Circuit said it will let that panel’s good ruling from August stand.

This is another pro-life victory. Nobody should have to subsidize abortion providers with their tax dollars.

Below is a partial timeline of this lawsuit and the issue of publicly-funded abortion in Arkansas.

  • 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.
  • April 6, 2015: The Arkansas Legislature passed Act 996 prohibiting the state from awarding grants to abortion providers and their affiliates.
  • 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.
  • August 30, 2017: The three-judge panel’s decision was appealed to the full Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • October 24, 2017: Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s office asked the Eighth Circuit to leave the panel’s decision in place.
  • November 13, 2017: The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals said it would not reconsider the panel’s ruling.

Photo Credit: By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.