KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Planned Parenthood Finds Success In Courts To Block Efforts To Cut Funding

News outlets report on the status of state efforts to block funding for Planned Parenthood.

The Hill: Efforts To Cut Funding For Planned Parenthood At State Level Fall Short
Social conservatives launched a new and sweeping effort last year to use state laws to cut off federal funding to Planned Parenthood. ... So far, six states have passed laws that seek to defund Planned Parenthood on their own — and the courts have blocked all six. The most recent loss came in Indiana, which was also the first state to pass an anti-Planned Parenthood law. Indiana's 2011 statute set the tone for the others that followed: It said funding for the state's Medicaid program could not flow to healthcare providers that also provide abortion (Baker, 10/27).

Politico Pro: Planned Parenthood Defunding Court Battles Waged Across States
According to Planned Parenthood, nine states have made efforts to defund it since 2011 via either legislation or administrative action: Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Arizona and Oklahoma. Planned Parenthood has gone to court to fight these efforts in six states so far, and in five, it's succeeded in retaining funding. Some of the cases, though not all, have centered on cutting Medicaid funds. Planned Parenthood obtained injunctions blocking defunding laws in Arizona and Indiana in the past week, when judges ruled that the states can't cut off Medicaid funding for the organization because it violates a provision in federal Medicaid law that grants every patient the right to receive care from the provider of his or her choice (Smith, 10/26).

Meanwhile, legal challenges in Texas move from federal to state courts -

Los Angeles Times: Planned Parenthood Battles Texas In Court Over Funding
Planned Parenthood and Texas officials are headed back to court in early November, the latest round of legal wrangling in a fight over funding. On Friday, a Texas district court judge in Austin issued a temporary restraining order barring Texas officials from eliminating Planned Parenthood from the Women's Health Program if they continue to accept federal funds (Hennessey-Fiske, 10/26).

Bloomberg: Planned Parenthood Gets Texas Clinic Funding Ban Halted
Planned Parenthood won a state court ruling blocking Texas from cutting off public funds to its clinics that don't provide abortion services the day after a federal appeals court refused to hear a related dispute. Judge Amy Clark Meachum in Austin issued a temporary restraining order hours after the organization sued the state yesterday to void a Texas law that cuts off public funding for affiliates of abortion providers. A copy of the order was provided by Planned Parenthood. It couldn't immediately be independently confirmed in court records. Planned Parenthood contends Texas violated state law by enacting a regulation that bars the group's clinics which don’t provide abortion services from participating in the state's health program for poor women because they are associated with a larger abortion-rights organization (Calkins, 10/27).

The Associated Press: Planned Parenthood Sues Women's Health Program
Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit Friday against the Texas Women's Health Program, claiming a rule that prompted federal officials to cut off funding for the program violates state law and should be thrown out. Federal officials cut off funding for the program effective Oct. 31 after the state banned from the program any doctor or clinic with ties to Planned Parenthood or other organizations that provide abortions (10/26).

Reuters: Planned Parenthood Sues Again Over Texas Health Program
Planned Parenthood family planning providers in Texas filed a new lawsuit on Friday over a rule that bars its clinics from a state health program for low-income women because the organization performs abortions. The suit was filed in state court, after a federal appeals court declined on Thursday to reconsider a ruling allowing Texas to withhold funding for women's healthcare from Planned Parenthood clinics (Wisniewski and MacLaggan, 10/26).

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