Yesterday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled 11-5 that Texas can disqualify Planned Parenthood from the state’s Medicaid program. The favorable ruling follows a 2015 lawsuit when Texas stopped Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid reimbursements after undercover videos revealed the abortion giant trafficked baby body parts.
In their most recently reported fiscal year, Planned Parenthood received $616.8 million in government funding nationally, approximately 90% of which came from Medicaid reimbursements. Medicaid providers in Texas are required to follow Texas Medicaid policies and federal and state law. The Texas Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found Planned Parenthood violated federal regulations by altering abortion procedures to harvest baby body parts. Thus, the OIG terminated Planned Parenthood’s provider contract. A lawsuit immediately ensued.
An earlier Fifth Circuit three-judge panel similarly affirmed that Planned Parenthood disqualified themselves from Medicaid reimbursements. Unlike the previous ruling, however, yesterday’s decision stated that Medicaid patients do not have the authority to challenge a state’s disqualification of a Medicaid provider. This positive development protects Texas from additional frivolous lawsuits by pro-abortion forces.
This five-year legal battle could continue if the abortion industry appeals the ruling to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). With yesterday’s decision, seven federal circuit courts have now written opinions on whether Medicaid patients can sue states that have disqualified Medicaid providers — two ruled in favor of states, and five have ruled against states. Accordingly, this question is prime for review by our nation’s highest court. Nevertheless, Planned Parenthood affiliates will not receive Medicaid funding in Texas, a consequential Pro-Life win for preborn children and pregnant mothers.
Texas Right to Life is thankful for this victory. As we approach the 87th Session of the Texas Legislature, the Pro-Life movement is perfectly positioned to pass bills that directly ban abortions, such as the Texas Abolition Strategy. Moreover, the Texas Legislature can codify the OIG decision by disqualifying abortion providers from receiving Medicaid reimbursements through state law. With a Republican governor, Republican majorities in both chambers, and a SCOTUS that will allow states to protect Life, Texas elected officials have no excuse not to make 2021 a landmark year for preborn Texans.