WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 19, 2019)—Today, Americans United for Life filed a “friend of the court” brief on behalf of a group of 77 Members of Congress in the en banc Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, supporting Texas’s decision to defund Planned Parenthood under its State Medicaid program.

The case, Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas v. Phillips, arose after Texas disqualified Planned Parenthood as a State Medicaid Provider when undercover videos revealed that Planned Parenthood was involved in illegal and unethical behavior concerning aborted fetal body parts.

Planned Parenthood and some of its patients sued in federal court challenging the disqualification. A three-judge Fifth Circuit panel held it was required to follow a prior Fifth Circuit case, Planned Parenthood of Gulf Coast v. Gee, that found—based on its interpretation of congressional intent—that individual Medicaid patients have a private right of action to challenge a State’s disqualification determination of their preferred Medicaid provider in federal court.

The entire Fifth Circuit court decided on its own accord to rehear Phillips to reconsider Gee’s holding. This opportunity comes after the U.S. Supreme Court—over a written dissent by Justice Clarence Thomas—declined the opportunity to review Gee in December 2018.

“Members that joined this brief have an interest in seeing courts restrained from speaking where Congress has not spoken,” said AUL Litigation Counsel Rachel Morrison. “The decision below violates the constitutional authority of Congress to dictate the contours of the Medicaid Act, including the right of States to make Medicaid provider qualification decisions. Americans United for Life is proud to give Members a voice by explaining the congressional intent of the Medicaid Act in this important case.”

AUL argued, on behalf of the Members, that implying a private right of action would greatly undermine the purpose of the Medicaid Act by hamstringing the flexibility of individual State Medicaid programs envisioned by the Medicaid Act and eliminating States’ ability to determine the best way to allocate their limited public funds to those in need.

The Members’ efforts were led by Senator Steve Daines of Montana in the U.S. Senate and Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. of Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives. Senator Daines formed and leads the Senate Pro-Life Caucus. The Members’ coalition is comprised of 12 Senators and 65 Representatives.

The full list of signers to the brief is below:

U.S. Senate

Steve Daines (MT)John Cornyn (TX)
Joni K. Ernst (IA)James E. Risch (ID)
Mike Braun (IN)Roy Blunt (MO)
Roger F. Wicker (MS)Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS)
James M. Inhofe (OK)Marsha Blackburn (TN)
Michael B. Enzi (WY)John Barrasso, M.D. (WY)

U.S. House of Representatives

Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (TX-26)John Ratcliffe (TX-04)
Ron Wright (TX-06)K. Michael Conaway (TX-11)
Randy K. Weber (TX-14)Bill Flores (TX-17)
Jodey Arrington (TX-19)Pete Olson (TX-22)
Kenny Marchant (TX-24)Roger Williams (TX-25)
Michael Cloud (TX-27)Brian Babin, D.D.S. (TX-36)
Bradley Byrne (AL-01)Robert B. Aderholt (AL-04)
Bruce Westerman (AR-04)Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04)
Andy Biggs (AZ-05)Doug LaMalfa (CA-01)
Doug Lamborn (CO-05)Gus M. Bilirakis (FL-12)
Greg Steube (FL-17)Jody Hice (GA-10)
Barry Loudermilk (GA-11)Rick Allen (GA-12)
Steve King (IA-04)Russ Fulcher (ID-01)
Jim Banks (IN-03)Roger Marshall, M.D. (KS-01)
Steve Watkins (KS-02)Andy Barr (KY-06)
Steve Scalise (LA-01)Clay Higgins (LA-03)
Mike Johnson (LA-04)Ralph Abraham, M.D. (LA-05)
Andy Harris, M.D. (MD-01)Jim Hagedorn (MN-01)
Vicky Hartzler (MO-04)Trent Kelly (MS-01)
Michael Guest (MS-03)Steven Palazzo (MS-04)
George Holding (NC-02)David Rouzer (NC-07)
Mark Meadows (NC-11)Ted Budd (NC-13)
Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01)Adrian Smith (NE-03)
Christopher H. Smith (NJ-04)Steve Chabot (OH-01)
Brad Wenstrup (OH-02)Jim Jordan (OH-04)
Robert E. Latta (OH-05)Bill Johnson (OH-06)
Bob Gibbs (OH-07)Kevin Hern (OK-01)
Markwayne Mullin (OK-02)Mike Kelly (PA-16)
Jeff Duncan (SC-03)William R. Timmons, IV (SC-04)
Ralph Norman (SC-05)Phil Roe, M.D. (TN-01)
John Rose (TN-06)Ben Cline (VA-06)
Glenn Grothman (WI-06)Alex Mooney (WV-02)
Carol Miller (WV-03)