By Will Hall, Baptist Message executive editor
NEW ORLEANS, La. (LBM) – Steve Horn, executive director for Louisiana Baptists, said he was thrilled the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled that Louisiana can cut off funds to Planned Parenthood.
“We are a staunch pro-life state and we do not believe our healthcare dollars should support abortion providers,” he told the Baptist Message.
Horn made his statement after the federal appeals court in New Orleans voted 11-5, just days before Thanksgiving, that Louisiana and Texas could ban Planned Parenthood from receiving government money. The majority included five judges appointed by President Trump.
The full court overturned a three-judge panel that had ruled against Louisiana’s ban, upheld by a 7-7 deadlock of the full court in 2017.
Planned Parenthood is the largest single provider of abortions in the United States, performing 40 percent of all abortions in the country, nearly 346,000, in 2018 (most recent available data). The organization received more than a third of its $1.6 billion budget in Medicaid reimbursements and Title X grants, $616 million (or 38 percent) in 2019, although that money could not be used directly for abortions.
The Louisiana law to defund Planned Parenthood was written in 2018 by now-retired Rep. Frank Hoffman, a member of First Baptist Church, West Monroe. Act 491 prohibits government funding to clinics financially tied to or physically co-located with an abortion facility. His legislation followed by three years a Louisiana Baptist Convention resolution calling for lawmakers to defund Planned Parenthood.
Meanwhile, the Texas attorney general had a strong reaction to the effect on Texas’s pro-life legislation.
“Planned Parenthood is not a ‘qualified’ provider under the Medicaid Act,” Ken Paxton said in a statement released by his office, “and it should not receive public funding through the Medicaid program.”