A tie vote at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this week has allowed Planned Parenthood facilities in Louisiana to keep receiving Medicaid funding.
A 14-judge panel at the Fifth Circuit, which currently has three vacancies, voted 7–7 on Tuesday, upholding a previous ruling that blocked a move by then-Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration to cut off funding from the abortion giant.
Louisiana was one of several states that attempted to block funding to Planned Parenthood following the release of a series of undercover videos that purportedly expose the organization's involvement in baby body parts trafficking.
After Jindal blocked the funding in 2015, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast and three of its patients challenged the former governor's move in court.
A federal judge in Baton Rouge ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood, and a three-judge panel at the Fifth Circuit upheld that ruling.
However, a member of that panel, Priscilla Owen, changed her ruling and issued a new opinion in July in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood. Owen's reversal prompted the state to ask the full court to rehear the case, leading to Tuesday's 7–7 vote.
According to The Associated Press, the tie vote was announced in a brief notice issued by the original three-judge panel, along with a more than four-page dissent written by Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod, joined by Owen, and five others.
In the original decision, the panel rejected several state arguments that Planned Parenthood was "unqualified" to provide health care and concluded that defunding the group would deny some women access to needed medical care. It went on to say that, under the law, the Medicaid patients have the right to obtain care from the qualified provider of their choice.
Lawyers for the state pointed out that the panel ruling is at odds with Supreme Court precedent regarding the extent of a Medicaid recipient's right to choose a healthcare provider. They also contended that Planned Parenthood should have been subjected to an administrative process instead of being taken to court.
"As a result of the majority opinion's holding, a Medicaid provider can now make an end run around the administrative exhaustion requirements in a state's statutory scheme," Elrod wrote.
The appellate court also upheld a preliminary injunction in a case that is still pending in district court. Elrod further noted that Tuesday's opinion "is binding precedent that will guide the development of law in our circuit."
Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the U.S., conducts 320,000 abortions each year and receives about half a billion in taxpayer funding annually.
In 2016, Louisiana lawmakers passed a bill that ensures that organizations that perform abortions cannot receive taxpayer dollars, even for non-abortion purposes.
Apart from attacks from Fulani herdsmen and Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, Christians in Nigeria are also facing increasing threats and attacks from occult groups that are targeting churches at night.
A prominent secularist group has called for an IRS investigation into an Alabama church after it displayed a sign that endorsed Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore.
Members of the British parliament are asking the government to consider refusing entry to U.S. evangelist Franklin Graham, who is accused of making inflammatory comments against Islam and the LGBT community.
Many Americans who consider themselves evangelicals do not actually hold evangelical beliefs, survey finds
About a quarter of Americans consider themselves to be evangelical Christians, but a survey has found that a significant proportion does not actually hold evangelical beliefs.
The supporters of the Islamic State terror group are reportedly trying to frame Christians for the attack on Al Rawdah mosque in Egypt last month in an attempt to incite revenge attacks against them over the holiday season.
A leading secularist group has raised concerns about cross memorials that were created by high school students in Georgia as part of a city effort to honor local military veterans.
A Christian teacher in the U.K. is suing a school after he was suspended for referring to a transgender pupil, who self-identifies as male, as a girl.
A new documentary from the History Channel has claimed that Jesus Christ may not have been born in a stable of an inn but a residential house owned by Joseph's relative in Bethlehem.
A young boy who was staying at the Smyllum Park orphanage in the 1960s was beaten "black and blue" after catching two nuns in an embrace at a boiler room, a child abuse inquiry has heard.
The Family Research Council (FRC) and the American Family Association (AFA) delivered a petition with over 77,000 signatures to the Pentagon in support of an Air Force colonel who was suspended for not supporting same-sex marriage.
Perry Noble launches Second Chance Church despite criticism that he's 'unqualified' to return to ministry
Former NewSpring Pastor Perry Noble has announced the launch of an online-based congregation called Second Chance Church despite criticism that he is still unqualified to return to ministry.