The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of South Carolina's ability to defund Planned Parenthood, the Conservative Brief reported. Tuesday's decision overturned a lower court's ruling to block a measure removing government funding from the abortion giant.
In 2018, South Carolina's Republican Gov. Henry McMaster signed legislation that barred Planned Parenthood South Atlantic from receiving Medicaid reimbursements. The organization sued, naming the state's Health and Human Services director Robert Kerr because he holds the Medicaid purse strings.
The matter went before the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, in March 2022. The court determined that South Carolina did not have the right to withdraw Medicaid Funding from Planned Parenthood South Atlantic based on the fact that it is an abortion provider.
The majority opinion, written by U.S. Circuit Court Judge Harvie Wilkinson, explained that an injunction was necessary to give poor women a choice in healthcare providers. Planned Parenthood provides healthcare services besides abortion, though arguably terminating pregnancies is their main business.
"At the outset of this litigation, the district court issued a preliminary injunction preventing South Carolina from terminating Planned Parenthood’s provider agreement," Wilkinson wrote. "We affirmed its decision then. South Carolina now returns to our court to appeal the district court’s subsequent permanent injunction," the judge, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, continued.
"In sum, we refuse to nullify Congress’s undeniable desire to extend a choice of medical providers to the less fortunate among us, individuals who experience the same medical problems as the more fortunate in society but who lack under their own means the same freedom to choose their healthcare provider," Wilkinson said. The decision was unanimous among the three judges in the panel and upheld a lower court's ruling.
Planned Parenthood is also combating a six-week limit on abortions that became law in South Carolina in May 2022. The timing was significant as Roe v. Wade was overturned shortly thereafter.
The rollback on the 49-year-old precedent has brought the abortion issue back into the courts as states are now tasked with setting their own restrictions independent of the federal government. An earlier decision on parental notification was nullified by the court once Roe was eliminated, a decision that rankled President Joe Biden's only justice on the court.
Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson dissented in the court's March decision that determined a federal ruling upholding the right for children to seek an abortion without parental consent or notification was deemed moot, Politico reported. That case was decided at the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis, Missouri.
It was a logical decision considering the federal right to abortion no longer existed. Still, Brown was the lone dissenter and issued her opinion explaining the opposition to the move.
"This case presents absolutely no ‘extraordinary’ circumstances” justifying vacating the lower court’s decision," Jackson wrote in her four-page opinion. "In my view, it is crucial that we hold the line and limit the availability of Munsingwear vacatur to truly exceptional cases," she said.
Brown was referring to another legal precedent that outlined parameters for when a previous decision becomes moot. Brown contended that "mere disagreement with the decision that one seeks to have vacated cannot suffice."
However, without the backing of the Roe decision, it's plain to see that any state-imposed restrictions should stand as passed. The left's undying devotion to the right to abortion on demand has hit a snag with the overturning of Roe, and they can't hack it.
The only ground leftists may be able to make up involve issues such as funding, but even that is difficult with a conservative majority court. Abortion zealots could move to court-packing to recalibrate the court, but so far, that move has not been made.