Planned Parenthood Files Lawsuit After Governor Stops Medicaid Funding

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LITTLE ROCK (KFSM) — Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, which covers Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma, filed a lawsuit Friday (Sept. 11) seeking an injunction after Gov. Asa Hutchinson directed the Department of Human Services to terminate its existing Medicaid contracts with the agency in August.

The governor’s decision came after an anti-abortion group released secretly recorded videos that claim to show Planned Parenthood doctors talking about illegally selling fetal tissue.

The deadline for DHS to end its Medicaid contracts with Planned Parenthood is Sept. 13.

The lawsuit was filed by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and three patients who are identified only as Jane Doe #1, #2 and #3. To read the lawsuit, click here.

The lawsuit claims the governor’s actions are illegal stating “as is required by federal law, Medicaid enrollees may seek family planning and other preventative health services from a participating provider of their choice and have those services covered by Medicaid.”

The lawsuit goes on stating “Arkansas Medicaid does not pay for abortions except in extremely narrow circumstances, and Medicaid reimbursement for abortion is not at issue in this litigation.”

According to the lawsuit, DHS notified Planned Parenthood of their plans to terminate their Medicaid contracts with the agency without warning and without expressing any previous concerns about Planned Parenthood’s participation in the Medicaid program. The lawsuit also refers to Gov. Hutchinson’s statement released the same day as the DHS notification, stating the videos released by the anti-abortion group are heavily edited and misleading and make claims about other Planned Parenthood providers’ abortion practices in other states.

The lawsuit states the need for publicly-funded family planning services is great in Arkansas, which regularly ranks among the worst states for reproductive care and is tied for the third highest teen pregnancy rate among the 50 states. It goes on stating many of Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid patients in Little Rock and Fayetteville, who already have few or no alternative options, will find it difficult to get the reproductive and other health care services they need.

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