Should American taxpayers be forced to pick up the tab for elective abortions – no matter their thoughts on the practice? All that progressive outrage over the patient’s right to pick providers aside, that’s the real question at heart in Kerr v. Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, the case recently remanded by the Supreme Court back to the 4th Circuit for reconsideration.
Is Planned Parenthood Qualified?
South Carolina’s Republican governor, Henry McMaster, signed an executive order in 2018 that ordered the state’s Department of Health and Human Services to remove abortion clinics from the Medicaid approval list. Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and a patient by the name of Julie Edwards sued just two weeks later. The case made its way to the Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood and Julie Edwards, arguing that the case “is not about abortion” so much as a Medicaid patient’s right to choose any qualified medical provider. The Supreme Court, however, vacated that ruling and sent the case back to the Fourth Circuit, instructing the appellate court to be re-examined.
What makes a provider qualified? More specifically, what makes Planned Parenthood unqualified? According to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Chris Schandevel, the state considers the organization “unqualified to provide family planning services because they had insisted on continuing to perform abortions within the state of South Carolina despite the state’s very pro-life stance and despite the statute saying that no taxpayer dollars shall be used to fund abortions in the state.” He argues that, should Planned Parenthood choose to stop providing abortions there, the organization could once again find itself on South Carolina’s approved Medicaid list.
What’s the Real Question?
But is Kerr v. Planned Parenthood South Atlantic really about restricting a patient’s right to healthcare whether they can afford it or not? South Carolina does, in fact, still have the required list of qualified healthcare providers – Planned Parenthood just didn’t make the cut. Choices remained, including for emergency abortions. Not only do all state abortion restrictions in the nation allow exceptions for medical emergencies, but federal law actually requires hospitals to provide them when they’re necessary to save the mother’s life.
Planned Parenthood isn’t just a medical provider that occasionally does abortions, though. It’s the biggest name in the business, both in practice and advocacy. Abortion is the fuel that keeps Planned Parenthood’s engine running, and that can’t be separated from any other, lesser functions. No matter what assurances to the contrary the organization might offer, to fund it at all is to financially support not only the procedures themselves, but activism and lobbying toward making the law more abortion-friendly.
Setting aside any debate as to whether unborn children are, in fact, people, those opposed to abortions believe they are. And if they are, then killing them simply to avoid the burden of caring for them is murder. To such a person, funding Planned Parenthood in any way would be like condemning John Wayne Gacy for his horrendous crimes but still hiring him to work a child’s birthday party because he was a real friendly fella when in character as Pogo the Clown. So the question here isn’t whether poor patients have a choice between medical providers, as the earlier Fourth Circuit ruling says. It’s whether the pro-life taxpayer has the right not to fund a literal merchant of death, to repurpose the left’s term for firearm manufacturers and dealers. Thanks to the Supreme Court, the Fourth Circuit now has the opportunity to reconsider.
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