Arkansas cuts off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood

(Reuters/Ilana Panich-Linsman)Planned Parenthood South Austin Health Center is seen in Austin, Texas, U.S. June 27, 2016.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) in Arkansas has announced that it has cut off all Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood.

The announcement came weeks after the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reconsider a previous ruling that allowed the state to discontinue Medicaid funding to the abortion provider.

DHS spokeswoman Amy Webb said that the state had terminated Planned Parenthood's status as a Medicaid provider last week after the court's decision formally took effect.

In August, a three-judge panel of the appellate court had overturned a federal judge's preliminary injunction that prevented the state from blocking Medicaid payments for services rendered to patients in the state.

Planned Parenthood appealed to the full court, but their request was denied earlier this month, allowing the previous ruling to stand.

The state's lawmakers had voted to defund the abortion provider in 2015 following the release of undercover videos that purport to show Planned Parenthood's involvement in the illegal sales of aborted baby parts.

The organization behind the videos, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), contended that the abortion chain illegally sells fetal tissue for profit. Planned Parenthood, however, claimed that the videos were heavily edited and denied seeking payments for the fetal parts beyond those legally permitted for the reimbursement of costs.

Over $51,000 had been paid to Planned Parenthood that same year before the state decided to terminate the Medicaid contract with the abortion chain.

Planned Parenthood challenged the law in court, and a federal judge had ruled that the state could not cancel Medicaid payments to the organization. However, the Eighth Circuit ruled that the federal judge could not prevent the state from blocking the payments due to the misconduct cited.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said that he was pleased with the Eighth Circuit's decision to allow the state to defund the abortion chain.

"The decision early on to terminate Planned Parenthood as a provider was the right decision, and I am delighted with the decision of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in affirming the right of the State to take this action," Hutchinson said at the time.

Judd Deere, a spokesman for state Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, stressed the importance of states being allowed to defund organizations that engage in unethical

"(The ruling) reaffirms that Planned Parenthood and the three patients it­ recruited could not contest in federal court Arkansas's determination that a medical provider has engaged in misconduct that merits disqualification from the Medicaid program," Deere said in a statement.

CBN News reported that the abortion giant had not decided whether to file an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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