The South Carolina Department of Health planned to cut off Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood, when it was caught up in a lawsuit. What the Health Department seems to not value is that the organization provides healthcare in many forms to women and men. With the pandemic and ensuing jobs lost, women have turned to Planned Parenthood for its affordable health care even more frequently.
The Supreme Court decided to not hear the South Carolina case and rests on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision, which says that the state may not terminate Planned Parenthood as one of the Medicaid providers.
In order to get the Supreme Court to accept a petition, four justices must approve the case. The court declined it without comment.
In 2018, the South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster (R) signed an executive order severing Planned Parenthood’s access to Medicaid as a healthcare provider.
Republican-dominated states have been trying to end Planned Parenthood. They have imposed restrictive laws one after another. Most recently, Missouri was down to only one Planned Parenthood clinic.
According to Planned Parenthood:
‘[It] is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment.’
The Medicaid funds do not go to pay for abortions. Regardless, conservatives have fought to defund Planned Parenthood, which appears to be a bullying technique against those least able to fight back. Women of wealth will always be able to afford abortions. Others may die at the hand of back-alley abortionists.
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic represented one patient and sued South Carolina for violating federal law, which indicates Medicaid beneficiaries can select any health care provider they choose. It won its case in the Fourth Circuit of Appeals.
South Carolina argued it had the right to determine “qualified” Medicaid providers. The courts disagreed. In recent years, the Supreme Court has refused cases from Louisiana and Kansas, too.
Judge Amy Coney Barrett is currently undergoing a confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee. There, she has refused to give her opinions regarding a woman’s right to birth control and to an abortion. However, she is an ultra-conservative who makes Justice Clarence Thomas look like a liberal.
Missouri Governor Mike Parson’s Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) withheld Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region’s license. The commissioner’s decision was against him:
‘Planned Parenthood has demonstrated that it provides safe and legal abortion care. The physicians who perform abortions at Planned Parenthood through Washington University and [Barnes Jewish Hospital] are all exceptionally competent and well trained.’
Yamelsie Rodríguez, President and CEO, Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region said:
‘For more than a year, Missouri’s health department has targeted Planned Parenthood. Missouri’s health department director, Randall Williams made false allegations about the high-quality care we provide and the dedicated, expert medical staff who provide it — all the while failing to tackle the real public health crises ravaging the state, including the COVID-19 crisis, rising infant and maternal mortality rates and skyrocketing rates of sexually transmitted infections like syphilis. Today’s ruling is vindication for Planned Parenthood and our patients who rely on us.’
‘But the reality is, abortion has essentially become a right in name only in Missouri. Missouri’s medically unnecessary requirements, two in-person trips to the health center at least 72 hours apart, a ban on using telehealth for an abortion and a needless invasive pelvic exam for medication abortion still make it extraordinarily difficult for people to access care in Missouri.’
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