It's okay for Arkansas to block Medicaid funds going to Planned Parenthood, U.S. appeals court rules

Today, a U.S. appeals court reversed a previous ruling that barred the state of Arkansas from halting Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood, after the release of setup videos secretly recorded by anti-abortion, hard-right media provocateurs.

Raegan McDonald-Mosley, the chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood of America, said in a statement the fight to preserve a woman's right to choose "is not over."

"We will do everything in our power to protect our patients' access to birth control cancer screenings, and other lifesaving care," said McDonald-Mosley.

From Reuters:

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis reversed a federal judge's ruling forbidding Arkansas from carrying through with Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson's directive to suspend Medicaid reimbursements to a Planned Parenthood affiliate.

That ruling by U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker in Little Rock had come in a lawsuit by three women who claimed Arkansas violated their rights under the federal Medicaid law to choose any qualified provider offering services they were seeking.

But by a 2-1 vote, a 8th Circuit ruled that the provision of the Medicaid law that the women relied on does not unambiguously create a federal right for individual patients that they could enforce in court.

U.S. Circuit Judge Steven Colloton wrote that the lack of such a judicially enforceable federal right does not mean state officials have unlimited authority to terminate Medicaid providers.

"We conclude only that Congress did not unambiguously confer the particular right asserted by the patients in this case," he wrote.

U.S. Circuit Judge Michael Melloy dissented, saying that four other federal appeals courts have reached the opposite conclusion and found that a private right of enforcement existed.