Washington, DC— Today, Americans United for Life submitted a “friend of the court” brief to the United States Supreme Court in support of the State of South Carolina, asking the Court to weigh in on a critical case involving the right of States to refuse to fund elective abortion businesses through Medicaid.

Baker v. Planned Parenthood of the South Atlantic (Sup. Ct. No. 19-1186) involves a challenge to a ruling by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond that held that individual Medicaid patients have a private right of action to bring a federal court lawsuit challenging a State’s decision to disqualify their preferred Medicaid provider – in this case, the nation’s biggest abortion chain, Planned Parenthood. 

“Medicaid funds are taxpayer money intended to provide critical healthcare to impoverished individuals, and should not be used to line the pockets of abortion chains like Planned Parenthood,” said Americans United for Life President and CEO Catherine Glenn Foster. “Abortion businesses should not be permitted to haul the States into federal court and ask a judge to substitute his or her judgment for State health authorities who have declared abortionists ineligible for taxpayer funding.”

AUL argues 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 Supreme Court recently declined to hear similar requests by Louisiana and Kansas to review decisions against those States prohibiting the disqualification of Planned Parenthood affiliates from their Medicaid programs. The Court’s decision sparked an unusual dissent by Justice Clarence Thomas (joined by Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch), who charged that the Court has made “a mess” of the law in this area, and that it had failed to do its duty to resolve conflicts among lower courts simply because it wished to avoid cases involving Planned Parenthood.

Americans United for Life (AUL) is a nonprofit, public-interest law and policy organization that holds the distinction of being the first national pro-life organization in America—incorporated in 1971. It protects and defends human life from conception to natural death through vigorous legislative, judicial, and educational efforts.

press@aul.org or 202-741-4921