MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama on Monday gave up its effort to cut off Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood clinics after the state lost an initial round in federal court.
Lawyers for Gov. Robert Bentley's administration and Planned Parenthood Southeast submitted a proposed settlement agreement to a federal judge to end the lawsuit brought by the health care provider against the state. Alabama lawyers said Planned Parenthood had been reinstated as a Medicaid provider.
"This is an important victory for our patients in Alabama who will be able to keep getting high-quality health care and would have suffered if the state had pushed forward with this political agenda," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Planned Parenthood Southeast took Alabama to court after the Republican governor cut off Medicaid funds to the organization in the wake of undercover videos that anti-abortion activists say show the group's personnel negotiating the sale of fetal organs.
Planned Parenthood Southeast asserted in the proposed settlement agreement that the Alabama clinics do not participate in tissue donation.
Alabama's Medicaid program has paid Planned Parenthood about $5,000 over the last two years for providing contraceptives and health screenings. The state agreed to pay $51,000 in legal fees in settling the lawsuit.
The settlement comes after a court victory for Planned Parenthood. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson in October issued a preliminary injunction ordering Alabama to, at least temporarily, restore Medicaid funding.
Alabama is one of several states, along with Louisiana and Texas, that have tried to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood.
Bentley credited the pushback by states for Planned Parenthood's decision to no longer accept reimbursement for fetal tissue to researchers.
"I will always fight to protect the rights of the unborn. If any medical provider in Alabama engages in practices that are contrary to accepted standards in the future, we will use every means necessary and available to ensure that those practices end," Bentley said.