Appeals Court Blocks Utah From Stripping Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid Funding

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Photo Credit: All Nite Images

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — A federal appeals court has granted the abortion giant Planned Parenthood an emergency injunction to stop officials in Utah from stripping the organization of its Medicaid funding.

“We conclude an injunction is appropriate pending the court’s determination of the merits,” the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Wednesday.

As previously reported, Republican Gov. Gary Hebert directed the Utah Department of Health to revoke funding in August following the release of a number of expose’ videos from the Center for Medical Progress. The series of videos provided undercover footage of various Planned Parenthood officials apparently admitting to engaging in the harvesting and sale of the organs of aborted babies.

“The allegations against Planned Parenthood are deeply troubling,” Hebert wrote in a statement. “In light of ongoing concerns about the organization, I have instructed state agencies to cease acting as an intermediary for pass-through federal funds to Planned Parenthood.”

He said that he was reacting to the “casualness” and “callousness” of how those in the videos spoke of the removal of various organs as they extracted the deceased child from his or her mother’s body.

According to reports, Planned Parenthood in Utah received approximately $100,000 this year for testing residents for sexually transmitted diseases, $115,000 for abstinence and “personal responsibility education” and over $1,000 to provide pregnancy tests and other tests to rape victims.

U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups, nominated to the bench by then-President George W. Bush, had determined last week that Utah had the right to its interest of “avoiding the appearance of corruption” by funding the embattled organization, even if Planned Parenthood facilities in the state weren’t specifically guilty of any crimes.

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“Indeed, these are the types of decisions that should be left to elected officials, and not managed by the courts,” he declared in ruling that the state may strip the abortion giant of funding while the case moves forward.

But Planned Parenthood appealed the decision to the 10th Circuit Court of appeals, which restored the injunction this week.

“We are thrilled with today’s decision, which will allow our trusted health care providers and educators to continue serving the thousands of Utahns who depend on us as the appeals process proceeds,” Karrie Galloway, CEO of the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, said in a statement.

Gov. Herbert’s office, however, said that the state is confident that it will ultimately win the battle.

“The governor is confident that once the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has the opportunity to look closely at the legal issues in this case, like Judge [Clark] Waddoups, they will reach the same decision and agree that it is contrary to the public’s best interest to remove the governor’s discretion to make contract decisions on behalf of the state,” Herbert spokesman Jon Cox outlined in a statement.

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  • Martin Smit

    Do you have a legal emergency? Has the state stopped giving you something you don’t deserve? Have you lost a court case? Is money involved? Bring your legal emergency to the federal court! Losing a case should never have to affect you if you have the support of your friendly national federal courts system. The federal justice system: it’s like justice, but more federal.

    • Ambulance Chaser

      So what should have happened instead? Should the 10th Circuit not have granted the injunction? On what grounds?

      Or should Planned Parenthood just not have applied for an emergency injunction? If so, why?

      • afchief

        More judicial tyranny, period!!! Utah has every RIGHT to stop funding. The legislative branch (federal, state, local) determines what and what NOT gets funded. NOT a federal judge!!!!

        • Ambulance Chaser

          Okay. So if a state legislature does something illegal, no one can stop them?

          • afchief

            I see you changed your answer. And you call yourself a lawyer?!?!?!? Who controls the “power of the purse”?

            Tell me Mr. “Make believe Lawyer”, by what authority does a federal judge have to force Utah to fund PP?

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Uh, no. Answer the question.

          • afchief

            I rest my case!!!!

            You are a “Make believe Lawyer”!!!!

          • Ambulance Chaser

            The definition of a “make believe lawyer” is “a person who wants his questions answered?”

          • afchief

            Hello!!!!! The two questions surrounding this entire fiasco are; who controls the “power of the purse” and under what authority does a federal judge have to force Utah to fund PP?

            Your questions are irrelevant!!!

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Well, for your first question, it’s not simply a matter of a spending bill for state funds, it’s a federal program. So it’s not clear yet whether the state has the right to withhold those funds.

            This leads to your second question: what right does a federal judge have to “force Utah to fund PP?” I don’t know, but that’s not what’s happening here. It’s a dispute over whether a state can interfere with federal funding. A dispute on a federal question, being heard in a federal court, by a federal judge. How could he NOT have the right to hear it?

          • afchief

            The state (in this case Utah) CAN refuse federal dollars. There is NOTHING to state otherwise. My state of Florida has refused federal funding for things like 0bamaNOcare, high speed trains, etc.

            Like I said, this is more of judicial tyranny, period!!!!

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Not all refusals of funding are the same. If the refusal violates the Constitution, it’s illegal.

            In this case, PP alleged that the Governor’s refusal was in violation of PP’s First and Fourteenth Amendment rights in that it punished them for speaking and denied them rights that other nonprofits otherwise enjoy, and because it violates the rights of PP’s patients to receive care.

          • afchief

            You are making me laugh!!! First, show me where it violates the Constitution. Second, show me HOW it violates the 1st and 14th amendment? LOL!!!

            Is each State sovereign? Does each State have it’s own Constitution? Or are they subject to whatever the federal government says? Let me help that little liberal cranium. The Federal Constitution is the law of our land and all states must obey it. Each State is sovereign in it’s own right which is why each State has it’s own Constitution. What is not written in the federal Constitution is left up to the states in accordance with the 10th amendment. Funding PP is not in the Constitution.

            With that said the Governor of each State has the authority to accept or deny federal funding for any program. period. Lot’s of Governors have refused federal dollars for Medicaid, extending unemployment benefits, etc. It is up to the State whether or not to receive federal money. Not the feds!!!!

          • Ambulance Chaser

            “Lots of states do it” is not a legal argument. It’s not any kind of argument.

            How it violates the Constitution is not relevant at this stage because the case is not at trial. The 10th Circuit was merely asked to grant a preliminary injuction.

            The factors involved in deciding to grant a preliminary injuction are:

            “threat of irreparable harm” to the party requesting the injunction if it isn’t given, the “risk of harm to the public interest,” the lack of harm to others in the ongoing case if the injunction is given and the likelihood of the party which requested the injunction succeeding in the larger case.”

            The court found those factors.

          • afchief

            OMG!!! Are you really this blind?!?!? DUMB?!?!?! The Governor of each state has the authority to receive or not receive federal funds!!!! NOT A FEDERAL JUDGE!!! What part do you not understand????????

            The feds CANNOT force government funding on states!!!!! IT IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!!! PERIOD!!!

            Like I said, IT’S CALLED JUDICIAL TYRANNY!!!!!

          • Ambulance Chaser

            And your basis for this argument is…?

          • afchief

            Let me spell it for you; I-t-‘s U-n-c-o-n-s-t-i-t-i-o-n-a-l

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Yes, and why is it unconstitutional?

          • afchief

            You are making me laugh again!!!!

            Can you show me where in the Constitution that allows the government to force states to accept federal funds?

          • Ambulance Chaser

            The funds aren’t going to the states. The process is called a “pass through.” The state serves as an intermediary between federal funds and Planned Parenthood.

            Except here, the state is interfering with PP’s right to receive the funds. The Fed wants to give them, and Planned Parenthood wants to receive them, but the state is interfering with that process because it doesn’t like what Planned Parenthood does, even though it’s perfectly legal.

            That violates Planned Parenthood’s right to receive a government program based on who it is, which violates Equal Protection and what it says, which violates Free Speech.

          • afchief

            LOL!!! So the government can put any agency within a State, fund it, and tell the State to go pound sand? Is that what you are telling me?

            If this is a federal agency (PP) then the State has every right to defund it and shut it down if it does not meet Constitutional muster and the State does not want it!!!!

            The Governor has EVERY right to close PP and kick them out of their state. PERIOD!!!

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Planned Parenthood isn’t a federal agency. It’s a private non-profit.

          • afchief

            PP is receiving federal funds!!!!!! The Governor can stop funding and tell them to leave.

            We do not live in a dictatorship yet!!!!

            And you call yourself a lawyer?!?!?! LOL!!!

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Again, you seem to believe that “because I say so” constitutes evidence.

            The justices of the Tenth Circuit seem to believe there is, at least, a reasonable chance that the Governor is wrong. If you disagree, stop acting like a petulant child and provide your evidence.

          • afchief

            House Passes Bill To Help States Defund Planned Parenthood

            The House passed a bill Tuesday that would allow states to withhold Medicaid funding to health groups that perform abortions, in what is the latest attempt to strip Planned Parenthood of government funds.

            Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Utah and New Hampshire have all made efforts to strip Planned Parenthood of state funds via Medicaid. The Obama administration warned states that’s against the law, which stipulates Medicaid beneficiaries must be allowed to receive care from any qualified provider.

            Read more: http://dailycaller. com/2015/09/30/house-passes-bill-to-help-states-defund-planned-parenthood/#ixzz3wNKqqqgt

          • Ambulance Chaser

            That’s nice. Too bad it has nothing to do with this situation.

          • afchief

            Sure it does. Like I said the Governor of each state can refuse funds for PP and remove them from their state.

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Which is not what your article is about. Try again.

          • Bob Johnson

            Can a Governor tell the Ducks Unlimited or the NRA to leave? How about the Catholic church? A Governor can not throw organizations out of their state without legal due process. Maybe Utah can make a case to throw PP out, but as the 10th Circuit said, PP gets funding until the state of Utah proves its case.

          • afchief

            Show me the law!!!!!

          • Bob Johnson

            “So the government can put any agency within a State, fund it, and tell the State to go pound sand?”

            Yep, EPA, FCC, ATF, FBI, …

          • afchief

            Show me the law!!!

          • Bob Johnson

            It doesn’t force a state to accept funds. Once the state does accept funds then it must use those funds as stipulated by the legislation that authorized those funds.

          • afchief

            The State can send the funds back to the feds. The feds have NO authority to force States to take fed money!!! NONE!!!!

          • Bob Johnson

            If the governor of Utah wants to refuse all Medicare funding that is fine. However, if the state, in this case Utah, takes the Federal Medicare money then it must allow any qualified vendor to receive funds. Utah can not provide funds only to Catholic hospitals and deny funds to Protestant hospitals. Likewise, PP and any other qualified institution needs to be paid.

          • afchief

            For one, show me where in the Constitution (federal or state) that the Governor has to accept fed money? And two, show me any law that states the Governor has to accept fed money for PP.

        • Elie Challita

          The Utah legislature can use its state funds in whatever way it wants, but PP’s Medicaid funding is provided by the federal government.

          That means that Congress allocated those funds to PP, and the Utah state legislature has no right to steal those funds and hold them hostage for their own purpose.

          A court has every right to tell a legislature that its actions are illegal and force them to cease and desist: that’s the whole point of having checks and balances

          • afchief

            NOPE!!!! That is a boldface lie!!! The Governor has every right to stop federal funds to PP in his state!! Period!! Otherwise we live in a dictatorship.

            This is about funding to expand medicaid for 0bamaNOcare;

            Texas Governor Greg Abbott quickly joined forces with Scott. Texas’ special Medicaid funding, which accounts for about half of the state’s $3.4 billion pool to repay hospitals for treating uninsured patients, expires in September 2016. In an April 20 statement, Abbott, a former attorney general who took office in January, vowed to support Florida’s suit. (As of April 22, no lawsuit had been filed.) “The Supreme Court made it very clear that the Constitution does not allow the federal government to use these coercive tactics against the States,” Abbott said.

            LET ME REPEAT THAT FOR YOU ” the Constitution does not allow the federal government to use these coercive tactics against the States,” Abbott said.”

          • Elie Challita

            The constitution does not allow the federal government to impose undue financial penalties on states, or strip them of funding for arbitrary reasons.

            However the fed does have every right to demand that the funds it granted the states specifically for a certain purpose be used for that purpose. If the states fail to use the funds for their intended purpose, which is set by the federal legislative branch, then the federal government has every right to discontinue granting those funds. There is ample precedent on the matter.

            Otherwise it would be impossible for the Fed to set any kind of nationwide budget, because states would be free to completely reallocate every cent they get in federal funding. They would have ultimate control over any project taking place on their land, and that directly contradicts the supremacy clause of the Constitution.

            In any case, what you quoted is nothing more than Greg Abbott’s opinion, which has no legal standing whatsoever.

          • afchief

            SHOW ME THE LAW!!!!!

    • Elie Challita

      Yes, that’s the whole point of having a hierarchy of courts: A higher one can overturn the verdict of a lower one. Furthermore, because higher courts are supposed to be more removed from local concerns they are in theory more objective.
      Your snark is sadly misguided.

  • Bill

    Shouldn’t a state have the right to fund whom ever they please? This doesnt make sense…

    • mantis

      no, state don’t get to decide what to with federal funding.

    • Bob Johnson

      The state of Utah is withholding federal funds to a qualified vendor.