Judge orders Mississippi to fund Planned Parenthood
Abortion | Planned Parenthood wins suit over law blocking Medicaid payments
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 10/21/16, 11:14 am
A federal judge Thursday blocked a Mississippi law that prohibited Medicaid payments to any healthcare provider that offers abortions.
Two Planned Parenthood affiliates in Mississippi filed suit against the law, which blocked all Medicaid funding, including payments for non-abortion services such as birth control, to any facility affiliated with an abortion provider. Neither of the Planned Parenthood centers that sued perform abortions.
Gov. Phil Bryant expressed disappointment in the ruling, saying, “I will continue to stand with the Legislature and the people of Mississippi who do not want their hard-earned money going to the largest abortion provider in the nation.”
Numerous states have worked to divert state funds away from Planned Parenthood, especially since the release of undercover videos showing the organization sold the body parts of aborted babies. Courts and the Obama administration are fighting back; in April, the director of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services sent a letter to all 50 states warning against cutting payments to Planned Parenthood for medical care because it offers abortion services. Bryant signed Mississippi’s law in May, and it went into effect in July.
Mississippi Medicaid records show that from July 2013 to August 2015, the program spent $439 with Planned Parenthood in Hattiesburg. The Mississippi lawsuit was the 17th one Planned Parenthood has filed since July 2015 to try to hold onto state funding.
U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III ruled Thursday that Missisippi’s law violated the “free-choice-of-provider” provision of federal law. He pointed to a Sept. 14 ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that blocked a similar law in Louisiana.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.