Planned Parenthood, the biggest abortion provider in the United States, is suing the state of Arkansas because the Arkansas defunded the organization by cutting off Medicaid funding. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals denied Planned Parenthood’s request in November to reconsider an earlier decision that vacated an injunction preventing the state from ceasing to make Medicaid payments to the organization. Planned Parenthood receives approximately $500 million per year from the federal government in subsidies.
On Friday, the abortion provider asked U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker of Little Rock for an injunction based an argument that their constitutional claims had not been considered by the 8th Circuit in its earlier decision. The motion by Planned Parenthood states, "Plaintiffs therefore now move for preliminary relief on the alternative constitutional grounds pled in their complaint." It went on to say, "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 organization complained that its customers will suffer "irreparable injury" without the injunction.
In 2015, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) terminated the state’s Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood after the Center for Medical Progress released undercover videos that showed that Planned Parenthood had allegedly engaged in the trafficking in unborn baby body parts. In November, Gov. Hutchinson released a statement, saying, "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." The statement continued, "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."
U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker was nominated to her bench by Barack Obama.