Fifth Circuit Court upholds law stripping Medicaid funds from Planned Parenthood

A major legal ruling that was made by a federal appeals court on Monday is being decried by Democrats.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a previous ruling that stopped Texas and Louisiana from withholding Medicaid funding from the abortion giant Planned Parenthood, Fox News reported.

Some background

Both Texas and Louisiana had laws on the books that disqualified Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid funding. Those laws were challenged in 2015.

Those legal challenges reached the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals where they were heard by a three-judge panel, which ruled against the laws. The ruling also upheld when the case was again heard “en banc” before all of the 5th Circuit judges.

Some important changes happened between then and now: Six of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees have been confirmed to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Of those six nominees, four participated in Monday’s ruling.

The latest

In Monday’s decision, the 5th Circuit reversed its previous ruling, allowing both the law passed by Texas and the one passed by Louisiana to stand.

“While the statute unambiguously provides that a Medicaid beneficiary has the right to obtain services from the qualified provider of her choice, [the law] does not unambiguously say that a beneficiary may contest or otherwise challenge a determination that the provider of her choice is unqualified,” wrote Chief Judge Priscilla Owen.

The Hill reported that “The majority of judges wrote that the women who sued Texas officials to challenge the ban, who were represented by Planned Parenthood, had no right to challenge the state’s determination that the organization is ‘unqualified’ and therefore can’t participate in Medicaid.”

Reactions

Planned Parenthood published a statement condemning the ruling.

“Let’s be clear — patients should be able to go to the provider they know and trust regardless of their zip code and income level,” wrote Planned Parenthood President and CEO Alexis McGill Johnson. “Accountability is coming, and we will fight back against any politician who doesn’t prioritize expanding accessible, affordable quality health care.”

Attorney General of Texas Ken Paxton, however, celebrated the decision, writing: “The Fifth Circuit correctly rejected Planned Parenthood’s efforts to prevent Texas from excluding them from the state’s Medicaid program … Planned Parenthood is not a ‘qualified’ provider under the Medicaid Act, and it should not receive public funding through the Medicaid program.”

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