Supreme Court Potentially Ends Six Year Assault On Planned Parenthood

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Congressional Republicans finally gave up after losing control of the House in 2018, but Republicans in control of various state houses never stopped trying to defund Planned Parenthood by excluding the provider from their Medicaid programs following the fake 'baby body parts' hoax.

Every lower federal court that has looked at similar cases has ultimately sided with Planned Parenthood and now, for the third time, the Supreme Court has allowed a lower court ruling to remain in place by refusing to consider South Carolina's assault on Planned Parenthood.

The case stems from South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster’s 2018 executive order barring enrollees of Medicaid, the low-income health insurance program, from receiving routine, non-abortion care from health care providers who also perform abortions. Planned Parenthood sued to block the Republican governor's order, and two lower federal courts agreed that the policy violated Medicaid enrollees’ rights to seek care from any qualified provider they choose. The state appealed to the Supreme Court earlier this year, arguing that it should have right to determine which providers are “qualified” to treat Medicaid patients.

Although funding for Planned Parenthood is probably safe for at least a few years now, the court's political makeup is about to change with the addition of Trump's latest nominee, Amy Coney Barrett. Cases that are narrowly rejected or decided by one vote could swing the other direction under a 6 to 3 conservative majority court and it's just a matter of time before Republicans come up with another scheme to attack Planned Parenthood.

The only surefire way to protect Planned Parenthood and abortion and even gay marriage, among many other things, is to take control of the government. And not just the federal government.

Replacing Trump with Joe Biden is obviously the most important thing, but electing Democrats at the state and local level is also important. Electing more Democrats to more state houses means cases like this one will never reach the Supreme Court to begin with. A Democratic attorney general or governor wouldn't launch these attacks in the first place.

Amy Coney Barrett could be a deciding vote to finally kill the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, and that lawsuit was brought by a group of Republican attorneys general. Replace them and there's no lawsuit.

  • KanaW

    I sometimes wonder about the abortion issue – it’s been a sure-fire way to get the Rs out to the polls for decades now. They’ve had plenty of chances to kill it, but they keep trying idiotic and incompetent stuff. Do they really want it stopped, or have they got so used to using it as an election flag that they’ll just keep on doing what they’ve been doing (using it to fire up the base)?

    • Draxiar

      I wonder the same thing. Does the dog really want to catch the car or is it just in it for fun of it?

      Part of me thinks that a case repeatedly going to the SCOTUS is a tired nuisance for the justices…a sort of “Oh geez, what now?”. The other part of me thinks that some of the justices are licking their lips thinking, “Ah-ha! finally I can rule the way I want and not look like a hack.”

      There’s no way anyone can completely sever themselves from their own personal feelings though judges/justices, to their credit often try to do the best they can. Choosing justices because of their personal tilts undermines the point of the job and I think that gets lost in this process.

      In other words, the courts are far more of a political prize than they were ever designed or meant to be and it’s hurting us.

      • Christopher Foxx

        I was reading an article the other day that was arguing very strongly against the idea of packing the Court. The main arguments boiled down to “It would politicize what is supposed to be the apolitical branch of government.”

        Totally ignoring, of course, that the reason packing the Court is being discussed is because it has become a very politicized institution. The last 5 years have shown that the process of determining who is on the Court (not to mention on all the lower courts) has become deeply, deeply political.

        • muselet

          More like fifty years instead of five, but yeah.

          Also, Josh Marshall would like a word with you.


          • Christopher Foxx

            And it is all guaranteed, locked in, final on the assumption that Democrats will not even consider much milder and expressly constitutional remedies to repair the damage wrought by Republican judicial corruption. Indeed, conservatives are now reacting with something like apoplexy at the idea all this work, wrecking half the government in the process, could be voided with a simple majority vote to expand the federal judiciary and the Supreme Court. The Republican program is raw power for me, norms and prudence for you.

            We have gotten to this point by Republicans using every political power that is not expressly illegal to maximize their drive to dominate the courts to retain power while losing elections.
            That illegitimate gain can only continue if Democrats refuse to use legitimate and expressly constitutional means to undo the damage.

            Marshall is quite right. Unfortunately, too many Democrats agree with the Republican program, that fighting back would be… unseemly.

          • muselet

            Ds believe in government, and have done for the thick end of a century. The Democratic Party is a governing party, and as such abides by rules and norms, without which there is only chaos and anarchy.

            Rs no longer believe in government, except as a means to reward their donors. The Republican Party is a post-policy party/mob/gang (delete according to taste), and as such behaves like the Visigoths who sacked Rome.

            Things have to change, and some norms and rules—not to mention some cherished expectations of our glorious news media—will be trampled underfoot as that happens. It won’t be pretty, but enough is enough.

            (And remember, never call it “court packing.”)


        • Draxiar

          Aye…the moment Moscow Mitch refused to advance Garland for consideration (or any other judges) it became blatantly political (SCOTUS, as a body should have spoken). When the Republicans as a collective said they would leave that seat open for four years if Hillary was elected it became aggressively political (again, SCOTUS should have spoken). When the Republicans advanced ACB to fill the vacant seat it became violently political.

          There is no choice but to expand the court. It’s not what Democrats want to do it’s what they need to do. Once they do legislation needs to be codified to prevent this sort of manipulation (as described above) from happening again.

          • Christopher Foxx

            Aye…the moment Moscow Mitch refused to advance Garland for consideration

            Hence my “The last 5 years have shown..” But it certainly hasn’t been just the last 5 years that the Republicans have been diligently politicizing the judiciary. It’s just that their response to Garland brought it into full view.

  • muselet

    The only reason I can see for the Supremes not upholding states’ assaults on reproductive rights is that state Rs have been too lazy to do more than copy one others’ laws word for word. John Roberts practically told Rs what conjuring words they needed to use in order to pass constitutional muster, but they just can’t be bothered.

    With Amy Coney Barrett on the Court, I doubt the states will need to use those conjuring words at all. Any restrictions on abortion will be fine by her, under the “Because I Said So” clause of the Constitution and a clear reading of the mumble-mumble Amendment.

    Yes, we need Ds to dominate federal and state (and county and city) government, but this Supreme Court will be making bad decisions for decades.

    Thanks, “Hillary Clinton is a corporate shill!” voters. This one’s on you.


    • katanahamon

      Yes, it is on them, but..we should have known better than to think we were evolved enough to put Hillary on that ticket. She was smart, experienced, clearly the woman for the job, but the R’s used thirty years of propaganda and lots of other factors against her..look at this ticket..plenty of qualified women were on it, but we are saying Joe Biden was the best of that lot? We have a long way to go..

      • muselet

        Any D would have been slimed by the Rs in 2016, not only Hillary Clinton. Joe bleedin’ Manchin would have been tarred as an atheistic race-mixing hippie commie! right out of the gate. Sure, the Clinton name induces paroxysms of uncontrollable rage in Rs and R voters, but she won the popular vote by 2.8 million and change.

        This time around, Joe Biden was a safe choice for D primary voters. A vote for Biden was a vote for a return to normality after four years of chaos and madness. I voted for the man with a light heart (put my ballot in a drop box just this morning) for exactly that reason. Was he my first choice? Not really, but he’s unobjectionable, he’s electable and he has evolved Leftward over the years.

        To quote Voltaire, “The best is the enemy of the good.” Biden is a good choice.


        • Christopher Foxx

          Couldn’t agree more.

          Did I want Biden as the candidate? No. Not even in the top five.
          Am I don’t every thing I can to get him elected? You damn right bethcha!

  • katanahamon

    None of this matters..they’re biding their time. Just wait until they have a secure, unassailable majority. Then we will see decisions overturned and new, extremist right wing laws put in place. Happy Tuesday!