Sunday, 20 January, 2019


Kavanaugh votes against hearing Planned Parenthood defunding case

Kavanaugh votes against hearing Planned Parenthood defunding case Kavanaugh votes against hearing Planned Parenthood defunding case
Patty Aguilar | 12 December, 2018, 21:14

Voting against certiorari were newly-confirmed Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.

The case was one of a number of disputes working their way up to the Supreme Court over the legality of state-imposed restrictions involving abortion. These cases were another attempt to do so.

By rejecting (pdf) the appeals from Kansas and Louisiana, the court leaves in place lower court rulings that bar the states from blocking Planned Parenthood as a Medicaid healthcare provider option to access services including contraception, wellness exams, and breast and cervical cancer screenings.

Although Kavanaugh stated publicly that he saw Roe v. Wade as an "important precedent," leaked emails that were reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee seemed to show a less clear picture. Though Justices Roberts and Kavanaugh did give Planned Parenthood a victory today, the decision does not necessarily mean they do not have "serious objections" to the case, according to CNN Supreme Court analyst Steve Vladeck. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that some respondents in these cases are named "Planned Parenthood".

At the same time, the administration has been seeking to leap-frog more liberal-leaning lower courts to get cases on divisive questions over immigration, transgender rights and the USA census before the justices more rapidly. 60 percent of Planned Parenthood patients rely on either Medicaid or Title IX grants to cover their cost, and 54 percent of Planned Parenthood clinics are in "health professional shortage areas, rural or medically underserved areas". The 5th Circuit said no one disputed that Planned Parenthood was actually qualified to provide the medical services it offers and the state was seeking to cut funding "for reasons unrelated to its qualifications".

Medicaid provides health care services for the poor, is jointly funded by the states and national government, but administered largely by the states. "They are about private rights of action under the Medicaid Act".

"T$3 his 3 percent statistic has many critics, who point out, for example, that it doesn't explain how much of Planned Parenthood's revenue comes from abortion".

The cases were only tangentially related to abortion - federal dollars can not fund the procedure. As a doctor, I have seen what's at stake when people can not access the care they need, and when politics gets in the way of people making their own health care choices.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List, said she is "disappointed" in the Supreme Court's rejection of the cases.

Students for Life of America, an anti-abortion rights group, focused on Planned Parenthood's role in abortions, though, again Medicaid funds can not be used to fund abortions.

Officials at Kansans For Life said they don't see the court's decision as a defeat. What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them.

But lawyers for Planned Parenthood and their patients have gone to federal courts and won rulings blocking most of these laws from taking effect.

Likely, the two justices declined the case to avoid any high-profile decisions in the first year of Kavanaugh's tenure on the court to maintain its appearance of impartiality following his contentious nomination process.

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