MONTGOMERY — A federal judge who ordered the removal of a Ten Commandments monument at the Alabama Supreme Court in 2003 has ruled that officials must restore the state’s contract with Planned Parenthood because canceling it denied women their choice in medical providers.
As previously reported, Gov. Robert Bentley’s office wrote a letter to Planned Parenthood Southeast this past August, providing notice that the Alabama Medicaid office would discontinue the state’s contract with the abortion giant.
According to reports, the state had reimbursed Planned Parenthood for over $4,000 for birth control and STD testings over the past year.
“I respect human life, and I do not want Alabama to be associated with an organization that does not,” Bentley Tweeted following the release of a series of undercover videos from the Center for Medical Progress. “The deplorable practices at Planned Parenthood have been exposed to Americans. I’ve terminated any association with the organization in AL.”
But Planned Parenthood Southeast asserted that Alabama could not legally cancel its Medicaid contract with the group. It filed suit to challenge the decision.
“Unfortunately, we find ourselves in court once again with state officials who are hell-bent on ending a woman’s ability to make her own deeply personal and private health care decisions,” President Staci Fox said in a statement.
“Only this time, instead of going after safe and legal abortion as he has each of the past four years, now Governor Bentley is trying to dictate where a woman can go for contraception and other preventive care if she’s enrolled in Medicaid,” she wrote.
On Wednesday, Judge Myron Thompson, who ordered the removal of a Ten Commandments monument placed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore in 2003, agreed with the abortion giant, ruling that the contract must be restored because the absence of Medicaid funding would interfere with women’s choices in what organization they wished to use for reproductive services.
“To conclude otherwise would not only strip the Medicaid Act’s free-choice-of-provider provision of all meaning, but also would contravene clear congressional intent to give Medicaid beneficiaries the right to receive covered services from any qualified and willing provider,” he wrote in his 66-page decision.
Gov. Bentley said that he is disappointed in the decision and will appeal.
“I am disappointed, and vehemently disagree with the court’s ruling today. We are reviewing the opinion and will determine the next legal steps within the appeal period,” he wrote in a statement.
“The good news is that as a result of the strong opposition by Alabama and a few other states to the practice of accepting reimbursement for harvesting fetal organs, the national Planned Parenthood organization has changed course and will no longer continue this deplorable practice,” Bentley said.