Federal Amicus Brief Supports Texas Removing Abortion Providers from Medicaid

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Twelve U.S. Senators and 65 U.S. Representatives have filed an amicus brief calling on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to affirm the right of states to terminate Medicaid contracts with Planned Parenthood affiliates.  Additional favorable briefs have been filed by U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, as well as the states of Louisiana and Mississippi.  In the case Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas v. Courtney Phillips, the abortion provider sued the state of Texas after the state took action to remove specific Planned Parenthood affiliates from the Medicaid program.  This amicus brief asks the court to uphold a state’s executive authority to determine who qualifies as an appropriate provider under Medicaid.

Medicaid is a state-federal program created to provide medical services to an individual with limited resources or other difficult circumstances, including pregnant women.  This is a program intended to equip states to provide medical services to those in need and thus promote public health.  States have wide discretion to determine the standards they believe Medicaid providers must uphold, and Texas is poised to set the standard that those in the business of violently ending innocent human lives should not be receiving Medicaid funds at the expense of worthy healthcare providers.

Contrary to pro-abortion propaganda, abortion is not healthcare, and those who provide and assist in the brutality of abortion should not receive a single dollar of public money to do so.  Because money is fungible, any funding provided to an entity which commits abortions ultimately subsidizes those abortions, even if the funding was not given expressly for that purpose.  Although abortion providers and their affiliates that participate in the Medicaid program may also offer other medical services unrelated to abortion, there is no way to fund these other medical services without simultaneously subsidizing the abortions they commit.

For this reason, Texas Right to Life adamantly supports Senate Bill 22 by Senator Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels), the legislation filed this 86th Legislative Session that would stop state and local money flowing to abortion providers and their affiliates.  As Legislative Director John Seago testified when the bill was heard recently in the Senate State Affairs Committee (27:13), the positive impact of SB 22 should be expanded by including language which prohibits any provider in the business of abortion from benefiting from Medicaid in Texas.

The Phillips case, while important as a potential vehicle to achieve the goal of removing public funding from Planned Parenthood, is narrowly focused on whether the provider violated the provider’s own contract with the state.  The case does not consider the broader principle of whether or not Texas has the right to remove abortion providers generally from the Medicaid program.  The case also does not affect all Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas.  Through including clear and specific language in SB 22, Texas has the opportunity to legislatively accomplish what federal courts could fail to establish.

The amicus brief filed by 77 members of Congress shows widespread national support for Texas taking action to exclude abortion providers from Medicaid reimbursements.  At the state level, 19 other state senators have joined Senator Campbell in coauthoring SB 22.  At the hearing held on March 18, 30 witnesses testified in favor of the bill; conversely, a mere two witnesses testified against.

Every abortion is performed with the common intent to end an innocent human Life, and therefore Medicaid providers who perform, promote, or refer for abortions deserve the strongest condemnation possible.  Instead, they currently receive government aid to continue their violent, anti-Life mission.  This is a shameful black mark on Texas’s record as a Pro-Life state which must be rectified without delay by expanding the impact of SB 22 to remove Texas abortion providers from Medicaid.

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The Honorable Jonathan Stickland serves as the representative for Texas House District 92 and is known for standing for principle – even when he stands alone.  Stickland is the only Pro-Life Hero in the Texas House from the 86th Session of the Texas Legislature.  Texas would have no significant Pro-Life victories in 2019 without Stickland’s bravery to defy House leadership.