Today Planned Parenthood claimed a victory in the legal system. The United States Supreme Court declined to hear a case brought by two states, Louisana and Kansas, asking the Federal Government to strip Medicaid funding from Planned Parenthood. Despite the court swinging conservative this year with the addition of Brett Kavanaugh, the court rejected the request. Justice Clarence Thomas issued a scathing dissenting opinion following the ruling.
In the cases presented to the court by Kansas and Louisana, the states argued that Planned Parenthood should not be allowed to accept Medicaid funding for low-income patients. According to the suits, the states allege that Planned Parenthood should not receive funding because of heavily-edited videos showing Planned Parenthood profiting off of dead fetal tissue.
The videos circulated the internet in 2015 depicting nefarious actions by Planned Parenthood administrators. Anti-Abortion group Center for Medical Progress released the video.
In the videos, administrators at Planned Parenthood discuss the sale of fetal tissue for medical research. Critics of the videos alleged the videos showed that Planned Parenthood profited off abortion by illegally selling the tissue. Planned Parenthood denied the allegations and said they only accepted money within the legal limits for the tissue.
Despite the social media uproar regarding the videos, the video did not result in any criminal charges against Planned Parenthood. Ultimately, the tape proved to be a fraud. Additionally, the makers of the video were charged in a California court with committing 15 felonies in making the tape.
After failing to win their case in lower-circuit courts, both states requested the U.S. Supreme Court review the case. Today the conservative-leaning court rejected the request. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the liberal justices in refusing to hear the case.
Interestingly, Justice Brett Kavanaugh had the opportunity to join the three justices that voted to approve the case, Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch, but refused. Not wanting to be the deciding vote to move the case to arguments, Kavanaugh took sides with Chief Justice Roberts.
Following Kavanaugh’s decision, Justice Clarence Thomas accused his colleagues of political motivation in refusing the case. Thomas said that because one of the respondents in the case was Planned Parenthood, his colleagues didn’t want to vote on the matter. Despite the case having nothing to do with abortion, Thomas said Planned Parenthood’s name on the docket made justices too uncomfortable to proceed.
The primary issue of the case related to what branch of the government controls Medicaid funding to providers. The two sides fought over whether a state, a private party or the federal government can decide to withhold Medicaid funding from providers.
Despite the efforts of the anti-abortion groups to discredit Planned Parenthood, the organization can continue to serve low-income patients. In 2013, 78% of Planned Parenthood clients had incomes at or below 150% of the national poverty level. Clearly, the organization provides a necessary service for the poorest citizens in the United States.
*This article was sourced with help from the Associated Press.
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