ACLJ Files Amicus Brief Urging Supreme Court to Hear Case Involving State’s Decision to Defund Planned Parenthood by Disqualifying It as a Medicaid Service Provider


Laura Hernandez

April 29, 2020

2 min read

Pro Life



Today, the ACLJ filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the Supreme Court in Baker v. Edwards (formerly Baker v. Planned Parenthood). This is an important case that could have a dramatic impact on the ability of the states to stop the flow of taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood – the nation’s largest abortion provider.

In a case raising identical issues in 2018, the Court declined to hear the case over the dissent of three Justices.  Under the Court’s rules, four Justices must vote to hear a case. It is likely those three dissenting Justices will again vote to hear the Baker case. We are hopeful that this time, a fourth Justice will see the importance of granting review and cast the necessary vote.

As we explained earlier, this case arose after South Carolina’s governor, Henry McMaster, issued an executive order directing the South Carolina Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) to deem abortion clinics unqualified to receive Medicaid funding. Planned Parenthood and an individual plaintiff immediately sued in federal court, challenging the State’s decision. The district court enjoined the executive order and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. South Carolina sought review in the Supreme Court.

Our brief argues that the Court should hear the case because the Fourth Circuit wrongly read the Medicaid Act to grant private citizens the right to sue the states over their disqualification of Medicare providers. Congress did not authorize any such right. As we explained:

The Fourth Circuit’s reading into § 1396a(a)(23) of a § 1983 right of action constitutes a double assault on the states’ power, as independent sovereigns, to adopt valid policies reflecting the values of their citizens.  First, the court exposed the states within its jurisdiction to the specter of legal assault by potentially countless Medicaid recipients. Second, the court effectively granted nullification power to providers and aid recipients over state fiscal policy in a sensitive area of state concern – taxpayer subsidization of Planned Parenthood.

We argued further that there is nothing in the statute indicating that Congress intended to limit South Carolina’s sovereign authority to ensure that taxpayer funds do not subsidize Planned Parenthood.

This is a very important case that could strike a devastating blow against the abortion purveyor. If the Court grants review, we will, with your continued support, continue the fight against taxpayer subsidization of Planned Parenthood.