Planned Parenthood clinics in Arkansas that have lost their Medicaid funding after the state defunded the abortion providers are back in court asking a federal judge to block the defunding.
In November, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals denied their request to reconsider an August decision which vacated an injunction preventing Arkansas from stopping Medicaid payments to the nation’s largest abortion provider.
The abortion clinics filed a memorandum Friday asking U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker of Little Rock to issue an injunction based on their constitutional claims which, Planned Parenthood lawyers argued, the 8th Circuit hadn't previously considered in their earlier decision.
"Plaintiffs therefore now move for preliminary relief on the alternative constitutional grounds pled in their complaint," their motion says. "Based on substantially the same facts this Court found in granting Plaintiffs preliminary relief on their Free Choice of Provider claim, Plaintiffs are likely to succeed in showing that [the state's] actions both violate the equal protection rights of [Planned Parenthood] and [the clinics' Medicaid patients in Arkansas], and unconstitutionally punish [Planned Parenthood Great Plains] for the exercise of its constitutional rights."
The brief also claims that Planned Parenthood patients will suffer "irreparable injury" without the injunction.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) decided to end the state’s Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood in 2015 following the release of undercover videos by the Center for Medical Progress which showed the abortion group’s alleged trafficking in unborn baby body parts.
"It is important for the state to have the clear authority to terminate Medicaid providers who act in unethical ways and in violation of state policy," Gov. Hutchinson said in a statement in November. "The decision early on to terminate Planned Parenthood as a provider was the right decision, and I am delighted with the decision of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in affirming the right of the State to take this action."