Remember how Planned Parenthood was all about stopping Brett Kavanaugh from becoming a Supreme Court Justice because he was going to reverse Roe?
Well, in his first test on abortion rights since joining the supposedly conservative court, Kavanaugh sided with the four liberal jurists by turning away a couple of petitions from Kansas and Louisiana which sought a ban on abortion providers.
If they had decided to review the case, they would have been ruling on whether states have the right to block Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers from their Medicaid programs.
Justice Clarence Thomas was joined by Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch in dissenting but it takes four justices to accept a case.
“Some tenuous connection to a politically fraught issue does not justify abdicating our judicial duty,” Thomas wrote. “If anything, neutrally applying the law is all the more important when political issues are in the background.”
The cases in Kansas and Louisiana, filed earlier this year, ask whether patients can sue states for excluding Planned Parenthood from state Medicaid funding.
In February, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that Kansas was wrong to to end Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid funding, writing that states can’t cut off funding for reasons “unrelated to the provider’s competence and the quality of the healthcare it provides.” Four other appeals courts have ruled that Medicaid patients have the right to access the provider of their choice.
But the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has held that states do have the right to terminate a provider’s Medicaid contract and that residents have no right to challenge that decision.
The Supreme Court’s action Monday allows the split decisions to stand in different federal circuits. Thomas, in his dissent, wrote that the Supreme Court should have taken the cases to resolve conflicting findings from lower courts.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Leana Wen was pleased with the decision, saying “We are pleased that lower court rulings protecting patients remain in place. Every person has a fundamental right to health care, no matter who they are, where they live, or how much they earn.”
Everyone deserves access to high-quality, affordable health care regardless of income or zip code. We're thankful that people in Louisiana and Kansas will be able to access the care they need. https://t.co/GkSIOcjzwz
— Planned Parenthood (@PPGulfCoast) December 10, 2018