By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Thursday, August 6, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) announced that he has terminated the Alabama Medicaid contract with the country’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood. A series of undercover videotapes released by the Center for Medical Progress have suggested that Planned Parenthood sells fetal body parts to researchers.
Governor Bentley said, “The deplorable practices at Planned Parenthood have been exposed to Americans. I’ve terminated any association with the organization in AL.”
Governor Bentley is a career medical doctor specializing in dermatology. Gov. Bentley said, “As a doctor and Alabama’s Governor, the issue of human life, from conception to birth and beyond, is extremely important to me. “
Bentley said, “I respect human life, and I do not want Alabama to be associated with an organization that does not.”
Staci Fox, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast said in a statement, “We are disappointed that Governor Bentley has been distracted by a deceptive attack against our organization instead of staying focused on what really matters to women in Alabama. What Alabamians need is more access to health care, not less.”
President Fox continued, “As a high-quality provider of medical care to women across Alabama, ensuring access to quality health services is fundamental. Planned Parenthood Southeast has been providing high-quality, affordable health care in the state for nearly 80 years and each year provides health care and education to more than 22,000 people across Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi.”
On Monday the US Senate voted on whether to defund Planned Parenthood at the federal level or not. 54 Senators voted to end funding to the controversial organization, but not the 60 necessary to end debate and force a final vote on the resolution.
Congressman Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) addressing the Republican Women of Trussville on Thursday said that the House is going to address the issue when it comes back from its August recess. “Each video gets progressively worse. Obviously Planned Parenthood has violated federal law.” Palmer said that he has called for an independent counsel to investigate, because US Attorney General Loretta Lynch has filed briefs supporting Planned Parenthood in the past (before she was the AG). Rep. Palmer said that efforts to defund Planned Parenthood will continue.
President Fox said, “Let’s talk about what defunding Planned Parenthood really means: It means taking away health care services for the thousands of women, men and young people who rely on Planned Parenthood health centers each year for basic health care. Just two days ago, Bentley himself was quoted as saying that cuts to Medicaid affect real people — like the Alabamians who will be cut off from care by this decision. In 2013, 323,490 women in Alabama were in need of publicly supported contraceptive services and supplies and most women who obtain publicly funded family planning services do so at safety-net health centers like Planned Parenthood. Every year in Alabama, Planned Parenthood provides women and men with lifesaving cancer screenings, well-woman exams, birth control options, and, STD testing and treatment. Because of our health centers, low-income, uninsured women and families were able to access high-quality affordable health care through the safety net provided by Medicaid funding.”
Alabama Republican Party Chairwoman Terry Lathan said in a statement, “It is with great joy and gratitude that we should all thank Governor Bentley for terminating taxpayer dollars from Alabama to Planned Parenthood. The actions that this illegitimate group has taken under the cover of “women’s health issues” is deplorable and indefensible. Governor Bentley’s action is not only appropriate, but a welcomed signal that Planned Parenthood’s agenda will be ended in our state with our money.”
Fox hinted at possible legal action: “The courts have been clear that the federal law prohibits states from excluding abortion providers from Medicaid. To date, two Circuit courts, the Seventh and Ninth Circuits, have reached the issue, and the Supreme Court has declined to review the Seventh and the Ninth Circuit decisions. Also the Center for Medicaid, CHIP and Survey & Certification (CMCS) clearly stated in an informational memo dated June 2011: “States are not, however, permitted to exclude providers from the program solely on the basis of the range of medical services they provide.””
At least five more of the disturbing videos are expected to be released in coming weeks.