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Judge Orders Alabama to Reinstate Planned Parenthood Medicaid Funding

Jessica Mason Pieklo

Wednesday's ruling is the latest loss for GOP lawmakers trying to defund the reproductive health-care provider from state-run Medicaid programs.

See more of our coverage on the effects of the misleading Center for Medical Progress videos here.

A federal judge on Wednesday blocked efforts in Alabama to kick Planned Parenthood affiliates out of the state Medicaid program.

The ruling is the latest loss for anti-choice lawmakers in Republican-run states looking to leverage perceived political capital following the release this summer of a series of heavily edited videos attempting to smear the reproductive health-care provider.

The videos, made by an anti-choice front group called the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), suggested providers were unlawfully selling fetal tissue.

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Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) sent a letter on August 6 to Planned Parenthood Southeast (PPSE) notifying the organization that his administration was terminating its Medicaid provider agreements, effective 15 days after receipt of the letter. Bentley’s letter gave no reason for the termination, according to the lawsuit. That same day, the anti-choice governor issued a statement saying he terminated the agreements because he wanted to end the state’s connections with Planned Parenthood.

“I respect human life, and I do not want Alabama to be associated with an organization that does not,” wrote Bentley.

In response to Bentley’s decision, attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood sued in late August, asking the court to block Bentley and his administration from ending PPSE’s Medicaid contract. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ordered just that.

The release of the widely discredited videos by CMP led to immediate backlash against Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) in conservative-led states. PPSE and other affiliates reported an increase in death threats and incidents of harassment following the release of the videos, according to Thompson’s order.

Two days after the release of the first video, the governor of Indiana ordered an investigation into the state’s PPFA-affiliated clinics. Similar investigations were launched by Republican legislators in Massachusetts, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Georgia. Louisiana, Arkansas, Utah, Texas, and New Hampshire. All of those states saw efforts to terminate affiliated clinics from Medicaid programs.

Regulators in each state have failed to find any evidence of wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood affiliates.

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