The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling that blocked the South Carolina Department of Health from cutting off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood.
The high court’s rejection means that last year’s ruling from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals will remain in effect, prohibiting the state from terminating Planned Parenthood as a Medicaid provider.
While it takes four justices to approve a petition, the court doesn’t publish the vote totals and it declined to hear the case without comment.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) signed an executive order in 2018 prohibiting abortion clinics from participating in Medicaid.
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Medicaid, the health care program for the poor, generally doesn’t pay for abortions, but conservatives have longed pushed to cut any state and federal funding flowing to the Planned Parenthood, which also provides an array of other health care services.
Under the order, South Carolina’s two Planned Parenthood Centers, which provide family planning and preventive care services, cancer screenings, and other health care, were terminated as Medicaid providers.
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, representing one of its patients, filed suit, arguing the order is a violation of federal law that says Medicaid beneficiaries may get care from any qualified provider, and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed.
South Carolina appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that the state has the right to determine what providers are “qualified” to participate in the Medicaid program.
The Supreme Court has in recent years declined to hear similar appeals from Louisiana and Kansas.
The decision Tuesday came during Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where she repeatedly declined to offer her views on landmark cases establishing a woman’s right to an abortion.