Judge blocks Ala. from ending Planned Parenthood funding

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A federal judge has blocked Alabama’s effort end Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood dealing a setback to Republican Gov. Robert Bentley.

Wednesday morning U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson issued the 66-page decision directing the state to restore funding to the embattled group, stating the governor’s letter terminating the contract with Planned Parenthood Southeast (PPSE) failed to include a reason for the cancellation.

In August, Bentley sent a letter terminating the state’s Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood after the legitimacy of using any taxpayer dollars to fund the nation’s largest abortion provider was called into question after the pro-life group Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released of a series of undercover videos detailing Planned Parenthood’s harvest and sale of fetal organs and body parts after abortions.

Following receipt of the letter, PPSE took the state to federal court, arguing the state didn’t have solid legal reason to end the Medicaid provider agreements with the two state clinics.

Today’s ruling is the latest victory for Planned Parenthood in recent clashes with Republicans over funding.

Susan Watson, Executive Director of American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama said, “Judge Thompson has rightly recognized that the State of Alabama’s termination of the Medicaid provider agreement is a violation of federal law. The State of Alabama cannot impermissibly target abortion providers for unfair treatment. Today’s  ruling is a victory for the women of Alabama.”

Following the order, Governor Bentley weighed in, “For the last two months, Alabama has denied payment to Planned Parenthood Southeast. The good news is that as a result of the strong opposition by Alabama and a few other states to the practice of accepting reimbursement for harvesting fetal organs, the national Planned Parenthood organization has changed course and will no longer continue this deplorable practice. I am disappointed, and vehemently disagree with the Court’s ruling today. We are reviewing the opinion and will determine the next legal steps within the appeal period.”

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