Court won’t re­con­sider rul­ing on de­fund­ing PP

The Sentinel-Record - - HOT SPRINGS / FYI - ANDREW DEMILLO

LIT­TLE ROCK — A fed­eral ap­peals court said Mon­day it won’t re­con­sider a rul­ing that Arkansas can block Med­i­caid fund­ing to Planned Par­ent­hood, set­ting up a po­ten­tial show­down over de­fund­ing ef­forts by con­ser­va­tive states over videos se­cretly recorded by an anti-abor­tion group.

The 8th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals de­nied a re­quest by three Planned Par­ent­hood Great Plains pa­tients to re­con­sider

a three-judge panel’s de­ci­sion up­hold­ing the state’s de­fund­ing de­ci­sion. The panel in Au­gust va­cated a fed­eral judge’s pre­lim­i­nary in­junc­tion that pre­vented Arkansas from sus­pend­ing Med­i­caid pay­ments for ser­vices ren­dered to pa­tients in the state.

Repub­li­can Gov. Asa Hutchin­son ended the state’s Med­i­caid con­tract with the group in 2015.

Planned Par­ent­hood said a re­view by the full court was needed be­cause the panel’s rul­ing con­flicts with four other ap­peals court de­ci­sions. Planned Par­ent­hood did not say whether it was weigh­ing tak­ing the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court’s two-page or­der did not elab­o­rate on the rea­son for the de­nial. U.S. Dis­trict Judge Kris­tine Baker ini­tially or­dered the state to con­tinue the pay­ments to three pa­tients who had sued over the move and later ex­panded that or­der to any­one who seeks or wants to ob­tain ser­vices from the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s health cen­ters in Arkansas. The three-judge panel re­vers­ing that de­ci­sion in Au­gust ruled the un­named pa­tients su­ing the state did not have the right to chal­lenge the de­fund­ing de­ci­sion

The rul­ing doesn’t take ef­fect un­til the court is­sues its man­date in the case in about one to two weeks. The state has said Planned Par­ent­hood re­ceived $51,000 in Med­i­caid funds in the fis­cal year be­fore Hutchin­son’s de­ci­sion to ter­mi­nate the con­tract. None of the money paid for abor­tions. Planned Par­ent­hood op­er­ates health cen­ters in Fayetteville and Lit­tle Rock.

Repub­li­can law­mak­ers and gover­nors around the coun­try tar­geted the or­ga­ni­za­tion af­ter sev­eral videos were re­leased by the anti-abor­tion Cen­ter for Med­i­cal Progress. The cen­ter said the videos showed that Planned Par­ent­hood il­le­gally sells fe­tal tis­sue for profit. Planned Par­ent­hood said the videos were heav­ily edited and de­nied seek­ing any pay­ments be­yond legally per­mit­ted re­im­burse­ment of costs. A Texas grand jury that looked into the videos cleared Planned Par­ent­hood of mis­us­ing fe­tal tis­sue.

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