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October 30, 2015

Judge Rejects Ala. Bid to Cut Off Planned Parenthood Funding

A federal judge has ordered Alabama to restore Medicaid funds for Planned Parenthood clinics in the state, reports the Los Angeles Times. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ruled Wednesday that the state did not identify a valid legal reason to end the funding and that Gov. Robert Bentley's order to do so likely violated federal rules restricting states' ability to block Medicaid money to a provider for reasons unrelated to quality of care.

Alabama is among several Republican-led states that have sought to end Medicaid contracts with Planned Parenthood since anti-abortion activists began releasing undercover videos purporting that the women's health nonprofit benefits financially from providing fetal tissue for medical research. Planned Parenthood said it donates the tissue in accordance with federal law and that the videos are deceptively edited.

Judge Thompson noted in his 66-page opinion that the videos did not depict or involve the two Alabama clinics at issue in the case. Judges in Louisiana and Utah have also ordered those states to temporarily restore Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood as court fights on the issue play out.