Supreme Court denies cert in Planned Parenthood case, lower court rulings protecting patients remain

Planned Parenthood was pleased with the Supreme Court's ruling and called it a "win for patients in Louisiana and Kansas."

Image Credit: Joshua Roberts/Reuters

On Monday, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined four other activist justices in voting to deny cert involving public funding of groups who provide abortions like Planned Parenthood.

The case “had to do with whether Medicaid recipients have standing to challenge states’ determination of which groups qualify as Medicaid providers,” National Review reported. The Supreme Court’s decision to deny cert leaves lower court rulings, which denies Louisiana and Kansas from blocking Planned Parenthood and other groups providing abortions from the states’ Medicaid programs, The Hill reported.

The lawsuits arose in both states after allegations that “the group and its affiliates were profiting from the sale of fetal tissue for research purposes” surfaced in 2015, The Hill reported. The states banned Planned Parenthood from its programs, but investigations in both states claimed no wrong doing by the nonprofit.

“It is true that these particular cases arose after several States alleged that Planned Parenthood affiliates had, among other things, engaged in ‘the illegal sale of fetal organs’ and ‘fraudulent billing practices,’ and thus removed Planned Parenthood as a state Medicaid provider,” Justice Clarence Thomas said in the dissent. “But these cases are not about abortion rights. They are about private rights of action under the Medicaid Act. Resolving the question presented here would not even affect Planned Parenthood’s ability to challenge the States’ decisions.”

Currently, the circuit court is split on the case’s concern as to “whether individuals have the standing to bring their own suit against a state’s determination of which providers qualify under Medicaid,” National Review reported.

Justices Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito dissented with Thomas’ claim that the Supreme Court created the confusion and therefore, should be responsible for clearing it up.

“Five Circuits have held that Medicaid recipients have such a right, and one Circuit has held that they do not,” Thomas said. “The last three Circuits to consider the question have themselves been divided. So what explains the Court’s refusal to do its job here? I suspect it has something to do with the fact that some respondents in these cases are named ‘Planned Parenthood.’ That makes the Court’s decision particularly troubling, as the question presented has nothing to do with abortion.”

Planned Parenthood was pleased with the Supreme Court’s ruling and called it a “win for patients in Louisiana and Kansas,” The Hill reported.

“We are pleased that lower court rulings protecting patients remain in place,” said Dr. Leana Wen, Planned Parenthood’s president. “Every person has a fundamental right to health care, no matter who they are, where they live, or how much they earn.”

Four out of the nine justices must call for an appeal in order for it to be taken up and heard.




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