Women's reproductive and health rights take another hit in the southern state.

Aug, 17, 2017

Two years after the state of Arkansas ended its contract with Planned Parenthood in controversy, a federal appeals court panel ruled that the state can block Medicaid funding to the organization.

In a 2-1 ruling, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel vacated the previous preliminary injunctions from a federal judge that prevented the state from suspending Medicaid payments for services patients received from Planned Parenthood. In 2015, Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson ended the state of Arkansas Medicaid contract with the organization. 

In the ruling, the court claimed the unnamed patients suing the state did not have the right to challenge the defunding decision. “Under the Jane Does’ vision, while the provider is litigating its qualifications in the state courts, or after the provider unsuccessfully appeals a determination that it is not qualified, individual patients separately could litigate or relitigate the qualifications of the provider in federal court.”

The ruling does not take effect until after the court issues its official mandate in one to two weeks. Planned Parenthood is still serving Medicaid patients in Arkansas.

Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, chief medical officer for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, released the following statement:

“We will do everything in our power to protect our patients’ access to birth control, cancer screenings, and other lifesaving care. “Extreme politicians are trying to defund and shut down Planned Parenthood — and this is not what Americans want. Every person deserves the opportunity to lead a healthy life and access care at a provider they know and trust, no matter who you are or where you live.”

Planned Parenthood of Arkansas was targeted after several videos were released by the anti-abortion Center for Medical Progress. The center alleged the video showed Planned Parenthood employees illegally selling fetal tissue. The organization was cleared of misusing fetal tissue by a Texas grand jury.

This case is the latest effort in federal court of Arkansas to limit abortion. Last month, U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker blocked Arkansas from setting four new abortion restrictions and another case attempting to add rules on administering the abortion pill.