In an effort to defund Planned Parenthood, Alabama canceled the organization’s Medicaid contract with the state in August after videos allegedly featuring a physician selling fetal tissue were distributed by an anti-abortion group.
However, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson dealt a blow to the state’s efforts on Oct. 28 by ruling that Republican Gov. Robert Bentley must restore payments to Planned Parenthood. In a 66-page decision, Thompson rejected the state’s decision to halt payment based on the videos, The Hill reported.
Thompson said the videos, real or not, were irrelevant in this case.
“This argument is not persuasive because the defendants do not dispute the plaintiffs’ assertions — or the evidence in the record — that [Planned Parenthood Southeast] does not engage in fetal-tissue donation,” he wrote. “The practices purported to be portrayed by the videos, therefore, cannot possibly cause any harm to the State or to Alabama taxpayers.”
According to records from the Alabama Medicaid Agency, it paid $4,351 for services to patients at Alabama’s Planned Parenthood’s over the course of two years, AL.com reports. However, none of these payments were used to fund abortions.
One clinic is in Mobile and the other operates in Birmingham.
Planned Parenthood said their ability to care for patients would be jeopardized if their clinics didn’t receive funding.
“This is in fact a great victory for women in Alabama to go to the provider of their choice without regard to political choices by the governor,” ACLU attorney Randall Marshall said on Oct. 28, according to Planned Parenthood.
Bentley, on the other hand, focused on the Planned Parenthood videos in his statement.
“The good news is that as a result of the strong opposition by Alabama and a few other states to the practice of accepting reimbursement for harvesting fetal organs, the national Planned Parenthood organization has changed course and will no longer continue this deplorable practice,” he said, according to AL.com.