Appeals Court refuses to rehear decision mandating Medicaid funding for Louisiana Planned Parenthood

By Dave Andrusko

Judge John deGravelles

On a tie vote of 7-7, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday refused to hear a three-judge panel’s decision that stymied efforts by the state of Louisiana to cut off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood. The 5th Circuit is currently short three judges.

The panel’s unanimous September 2016 decision upheld the original ruling by U.S. District Court Judge John deGravelle. Last July attorneys for the state of Louisiana asked the full 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to hold a rehearing on the issue, noting in its filing that Judge Priscilla Owen had changed her opinion on the issue.

As NRL News Today readers may remember, in 2015 then-Gov. Bobby Jindal moved to block the funding. Planned Parenthood’s Louisiana affiliate, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, and three of its patients challenged the funding cutoff in federal court.

When Judge deGravelle ordered the state to continue using taxpayer dollars to fund Planned Parenthood, the state appealed. Gov. Jindal said the state has the authority to determine which organizations are qualified Medicaid providers, and for multiple reasons “Planned Parenthood is not qualified to do business in our state.”

“Tuesday’s 7-7 was announced in a brief notice issued by the original three-judge panel,” according to the Associated Press’s Kevin McGill. “ It was accompanied by a more than four-page dissent written by Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod, joined by Owen and five others.”