Fifth Circuit Appeals Court Rules Texas, Louisiana Can Cut Medicaid Funding to Planned Parenthood

November 24, 2020 Updated: November 25, 2020

A federal appeals court ruled Monday that Louisiana and Texas can withhold federal funding to Planned Parenthood clinics, undoing an earlier appellate court decision.

The decision was handed down by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Besides reversing decisions in Texas and Louisiana, Mississippi is also under 5th Circuit jurisdiction and will be affected by the recent change. The decision is likely to be appealed and go to the Supreme Court.

“The Commission’s Inspector General (OIG) introduced evidence that it asserts, shows (Planned Parenthood) PP Gulf Coast violated federal regulations relating to fetal tissue research by altering abortion procedures for research purposes or allowing the researchers themselves to be involved in performing abortions,” the judges wrote in their opinion (pdf).

Pro-life advocates have long worked to stop taxpayer money from being used for Medicaid and funding Planned Parenthood clinics.

In a statement following the ruling, Planned Parenthood said it was “a blatantly political attack that will jeopardize critical health care access for Texans with low incomes during a global pandemic.”

“Make no mistake—forcing Planned Parenthood out of the Texas Medicaid program would have a devastating impact on Texans,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood. “Accountability is coming, and we will fight back against any politician who doesn’t prioritize expanding accessible, affordable quality health care.”

Abby Johnson, former director of a Texas Planned Parenthood affiliate and now a pro-life advocate, told Fox News that “There’s no reason for women to go to Planned Parenthood to receive health care when they can go to far superior health care centers and receive more comprehensive health care services.”

“Planned Parenthood provides extremely limited services and has to refer out for almost all services that women and men may need throughout their lifetime,” Johnson said.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton agreed with the ruling, saying in a statement: “The Fifth Circuit correctly rejected Planned Parenthood’s efforts to prevent Texas from excluding them from the state’s Medicaid program.”

“Undercover video plainly showed Planned Parenthood admitting to morally bankrupt and unlawful conduct, including violations of federal law by manipulating the timing and methods of abortions to obtain fetal tissue for their own research. Planned Parenthood is not a ‘qualified’ provider under the Medicaid Act, and it should not receive public funding through the Medicaid program,” Paxton said, referring to undercover videos released by the The Center for Medical Progress earlier this year.

Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) also took to Twitter to congratulate the ruling. “Good news for unborn babies in Louisiana! #Prolife.”

Planned Parenthood Federation did not immediately return a request for comment about the ruling.