Supreme Court Renews South Carolina's Case to Defund Planned Parenthood
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The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday threw out the decision of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals that had blocked South Carolina from stopping the taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood.
The justices sent the case back to the lower court to reconsider it in light of their 7-2 ruling on June 8 in a related case from Indiana. Reuters reports that the ruling allowed an Indiana nursing home resident's family to sue over his care at a government-run facility under the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act.
At issue in Kerr v. Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, is whether pro-life states like South Carolina can direct Medicaid funds—which are intended to help low-income individuals obtain necessary medical assistance—away from abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.
"Pro-life states like South Carolina should be free to determine that Planned Parenthood and other entities that peddle abortion are not qualified to receive taxpayer funding through Medicaid. Congress did not unambiguously create a right for Medicaid recipients to drag states into federal court to challenge those decisions, so no such right exists," Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Chris Schandevel said in a statement after the high court's ruling.
"The Supreme Court's recent decision in Talevski makes that even clearer. And we're grateful the 4th Circuit will have another opportunity to hold that Congress did not intend to allow federal courts to second guess states' decisions about which providers are qualified to receive Medicaid funding," Schandevel said.
Currently, federal law prohibits the states from using federal funds for abortions except in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest. The 1977 law, known as the Hyde Amendment, has also guided taxpayer funding for abortions under Medicaid programs.
After South Carolina determined that Planned Parenthood was not qualified to receive taxpayer funding as part of its Medicaid program, a federal district court then forced the state to restore Planned Parenthood's funding.
Representing the director of the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, ADF attorneys appealed to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, which ruled in 2022 against allowing the state to terminate Planned Parenthood as a qualified Medicaid provider.
ADF attorneys then filed a petition with the Supreme Court asking it to hear the case and affirm that the Medicaid Act does not create a private right for Medicaid recipients to challenge a state's decision that a specific provider like Planned Parenthood is not qualified to receive taxpayer funding.
As CBN News has reported, nearly a year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and the ripple effects are still being felt in America's battle over abortion access.
Since that time, at least 15 states have moved to curtail abortions.
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