MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The churchgoing governor of Alabama has restored the state’s Medicaid contract with the abortion giant Planned Parenthood, filing a joint motion in court to resolve a lawsuit over the matter after initially vowing to appeal.
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 agreement 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.
In October, 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.
Bentley initially vowed to appeal the ruling, but new reports state that the Medicaid contract was reinstated on October 28th. On Monday, the governor and Planned Parenthood filed joint motions in court to end the lawsuit since the contract has been restored with the organization.
“We are pleased that Planned Parenthood can get back to its commitment to protecting access to care in the state of Alabama which remains its number one priority,” Susan Watson, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Alabama, said in a statement, according to AL.com. “That is the very reason Planned Parenthood filed this lawsuit to ensure the provision of quality services to its patients.”
Bentley also released a public statement, stating that he had originally canceled the contract over concerns about the organization’s alleged harvesting of aborted baby parts. However, because the Alabama affiliate said it did not engage in the practice, and because the national Planned Parenthood office has since stated that it will discontinue receiving financial reimbursement for fetal organs, Bentley agreed to restore the contract.
“The national pressure from Alabama and other states led Planned Parenthood to change its practices and no longer engage in the despicable and inhumane practice of selling organs of unborn children,” he said. “I will always fight to protect the rights of the unborn. If any medical provider in Alabama engages in practices that are contrary to accepted standards in the future, we will use every means necessary and available to ensure that those practices end.”
Bentley states that the Medicaid funding “will specifically pay for routine gynecology exams and birth control methods for Medicaid recipients.”
The Alabama governor, who once served as a deacon and taught Sunday School at First Baptist Church Tuscaloosa, has previously been at odds with his own pastor’s counsel in regards to the protection of biblical marriage.