The administration of Gov. Robert Bentley is no longer at odds with the regional arm of the womens’ health group Planned Parenthood as of Monday afternoon.
Bentley announced his decision after the group assured the state that it complies with Alabama law and does not harvest organs from unborn children, which Bentley said he had “deep concern” over.
The national Planned Parenthood organization has been under fire since edited video emerged earlier this year purporting to show representatives of the group soliciting money in exchange for tissue from aborted fetuses.
Bentley canceled a contract the group received with Alabama’s Medicaid system back in August. A federal judge ruled he did not have the authority to do that two months later.
Today’s agreement signals Bentley will not appeal the decision.
“The national pressure from Alabama and other states led Planned Parenthood to change its practices and no longer engage in the despicable and inhumane practice of selling organs of unborn children,” Bentley said. “I will always fight to protect the rights of the unborn. If any medical provider in Alabama engages in practices that are contrary to accepted standards in the future, we will use every means necessary and available to ensure that those practices end.”
A copy of the agreement can be found here, courtesy of the governor’s official site.
The agreement contains a provision that the state will continue its contract and reimburse the group for legal fees in exchange for assurance of a formal separation of the regional group from national Planned Parenthood, and other sundry items.
State Auditor Jim Zeigler issued a sternly-worded response to the move, disapproving of Bentley’s agreement to mend fences with the nation’s leading provider of women’s health services.
“Gov Bentley dropped the Planned Parenthood appeal, is paying them $51,000 extra of Alabama taxpayer money, and continues the contract with them,” said Zeigler. “The state had only paid about $4,300 to Planned Parenthood this year but now is paying them an additional $51,000. This matter was badly mishandled, bungled. It ended up helping Planned Parenthood and costing Alabama taxpayers.”
“The Governor’s attorneys should have identified and alleged a legal reason to cancel the contract. They could have easily done this but instead gave no reason. They invited failure by mishandling the entire matter.”