Obama administration threatens Alabama with loss of Medicaid funds after defunding Planned Parenthood
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Obama administration this week warned Alabama and Louisiana their Medicaid funding could be in jeopardy after their respective governors canceled contracts with Planned Parenthood clinics in the wake of the recent revelations the abortion provider is selling the organs and body parts of aborted babies.
Planned Parenthood currently receives more than $500 million annually nationwide in federal funding, mostly through Medicaid reimbursements.
It is through the mechanism of Medicaid—whose funding is controlled through the states—that some red state governors, including Governor Bentley and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, have begun their own efforts to defund abortion providers.
Eight other states besides Alabama ban all state family planning money from going to clinics which provide abortions, including Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Louisiana, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin.
But Kevin Griffis, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said Thursday that the federal Medicaid agency has notified the states of the possible violation of federal law.
“Longstanding Medicaid laws prohibit states from restricting individuals who have coverage through Medicaid from receiving care from a qualified provider,” Griffis said. “By restricting which provider a woman could choose to receive care from, women could lose access to critical preventive care, such as cancer screenings.”
“The Governor will not be threatened by the Federal Government over this issue,” said Governor Bentley spokeswoman Jennifer Ardis.
“The contract with Planned Parenthood allows either party to terminate on 15 days written notice. The deplorable practices at Planned Parenthood have been exposed to Americans, and the Governor terminated any association with the organization in Alabama. As a doctor and Alabama’s Governor, the issue of human life, from conception to birth and beyond, is extremely important to him. He respects human life, and he does not want Alabama to be associated with an organization that does not.”
According to a report from TheHill.com, a spokesman for Governor Jindal, the state and its Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) are standing by its decision as well.
During the first Special Session the Alabama Legislature lawmakers considered legislation making it a Class B felony to offer or accept money for aborted babies or parts of aborted babies.
“The nation is shocked by videos depicting Planned Parenthood employees callously discussing the dismemberment of babies and the sale of baby body parts for profit. This is like a story out of Nazi Germany,” said Sen. Bill Hightower (R-Mobile) during a committee hearing on the bill. “The federal authorities may allow this type of thing, but Alabama won’t – and upon final passage, Alabama will have a law that reflects Alabama’s values.”
The bill died without a final vote earlier this week.
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— Elizabeth BeShears (@LizEBeesh) January 21, 2015