Two great forces have arrayed themselves against one another on the issue of abortion. One side sees it as murder; the other calls it a reproductive right and believes that prohibiting it is an infringement of every woman’s freedom of choice. For both, this is a war for the very soul of America. In what is, so far, a victory for the anti-abortion troops, a federal appeals court ruled that Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson can block Planned Parenthood from taxpayer funding.
As previously reported on Liberty Nation, the abortionists of California won a great battle earlier this year when secretly recorded footage of meetings with Planned Parenthood officials was censored, and those who recorded it were indicted on felony charges. The war is far from over, however. In response to that footage, Gov. Hutchinson ended the state’s contract with Planned Parenthood in 2015, which cut off the organization’s Medicaid funds. Planned Parenthood recruited three patients to challenge the governor’s decision, and U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker ordered the state to continue the payments. But as reported by the Associated Press, the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated Judge Baker’s injunction in a two to one ruling Wednesday, claiming that the patients did not have the right to sue the state. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge praised the decision:
“The Court found that Planned Parenthood and the three patients it recruited could not contest in federal court Arkansas’s determination that a medical provider has engaged in misconduct that merits disqualification from the Medicaid program,” Rutledge, a Republican, said in a statement. “All patients should have access to ethical, quality and responsible health care, and should never be beholden to a company that is only seeking to protect its profits.”
The court did not address the state’s reasons for terminating the contract, but the stealthily recorded videos from the Center for Medical Progress aren’t the only evidence of the medical provider’s misdeeds. The Charlotte Lozier Institute used publicly available audits of Planned Parenthood affiliates over a four-year period to show that abortion-related claims had been illegally billed to Medicaid and that the overbilling was in excess of $123.8 million. According to the report, Medicaid paid for hundreds of thousands of illegally charged abortion-related claims in New York alone.
Those who fight the defunding of Planned Parenthood call President Trump, Governor Hutchinson, and others who support them “extreme,” and accuse them of trying to deny women access to critical healthcare:
“We will do everything in our power to protect our patients’ access to birth control, cancer screenings, and other lifesaving care,” Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement. “Extreme politicians are trying to defund and shut down Planned Parenthood — and this is not what Americans want. Every person deserves the opportunity to lead a healthy life and access care at a provider they know and trust, no matter who you are or where you live.”
The so-called “pro-choice” side likes to argue that such procedures only account for about 3% of what the provider does, and that tax dollars aren’t paying for them. However, both claims are misleading. Tax funds can and do help them provide abortions – whether that’s because of illegal Medicaid billing or simply by keeping the lights on and paying for advertising.
The movement to defund Planned Parenthood, #ProtestPP, exposed the dishonesty of the 3% figure:
Planned Parenthood claims abortion is only 3% of their services, a figure so misleading that Slate magazine called it “the most meaningless abortion statistic ever.” Out of the 9.5 million individual services Planned Parenthood provided in 2014, 323,999 were abortions – roughly 3%. But this figure fails to account for the fact that a woman visiting Planned Parenthood for an abortion will receive several services – from a pregnancy test to some manner of counseling to the abortion itself – each of which is counted separately. Also, abortion accounts for more than 60% of their total clinic income.
Additionally, it seems that advocates of Planned Parenthood have misrepresented the provider’s actual role in women’s health:
- Planned Parenthood hood provides less than 2% of manual breast exams, less than 1% of pap tests, and zero mammograms annually.
- Women cannot go to Planned Parenthood for such basic healthcare needs as treatment for back pain, colds and flus, bodily injury, and mental health issues.
- Despite their name, Planned Parenthood offers almost no prenatal care, which amounts to less than 0.2% of total annual services.
- Planned Parenthood offers no pediatric care, a primary concern of millions of women, and even instructs women not to bring children with them to their centers.
- 4 out of 5 women will never visit a Planned Parenthood facility.
The funds taken from this provider would instead go to other Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQCHs), which don’t provide abortions but do provide care in other areas neglected by Planned Parenthood. Far from defunding women’s healthcare in general, this would bolster it.
The battle over abortion rages on across the nation, and the fate of Planned Parenthood is far from sealed – even in Arkansas. With abortions providing most of their income – they are the top provider in the nation – Planned Parenthood can’t afford to stop. They’re preparing to challenge the ruling, and this fight may well play out in the U.S. Supreme Court.
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