Shaheen, Hassan Join Senate Democrats to File Amicus Brief in Support of Planned Parenthood; Stand Up for Women’s Health & Rights in TexasOctober 16, 2017
(Washington, DC) – On Friday, Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH), joined a group of 23 Senate Democrats to file an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in the case of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Family Planning and Preventive Health Services, Inc. et al v. Charles Smith et al.
In 2016, Texas revoked Planned Parenthood’s status as a qualified medical provider for Texans on Medicaid. While the move was blocked by a federal judge, the state appealed the injunction and their arguments will soon be heard by the 5th Circuit Court. If the decision is reversed, Texas could be allowed to once again discriminate against Planned Parenthood and its patients, and threaten one of the only affordable providers of family planning, women’s healthcare, and cancer screenings in Texas.
“Congress intended to offer Medicaid patients their choice of medically qualified health care providers—particularly for family planning services,” wrote Senate Democrats in their brief. “The statute explicitly prevents a state from interfering with a Medicaid patient’s selection of provider, as long as the provider is ‘qualified to perform the service or services required.’”
In their amicus brief, Senate Democrats called on the court to stop Texas leaders from imposing their ideological preferences on patients and interfering with a Medicaid patient’s selection of provider.
“In violation of that unambiguous directive, Texas terminated the Medicaid provider agreements of three Planned Parenthood organizations for reasons unrelated to its medical or professional qualifications. Texas thereby threatened to withhold from low-income patients one of their highest quality family planning options (and sometimes their only such option),” continued Senate Democrats. “Its action contravenes Congress’s intent to increase the availability of quality family planning options and provide patients with meaningful choices.”
Read the full text of the amicus brief here.
Senator Shaheen is a dedicated advocate for women’s reproductive rights and a fervent defender of Planned Parenthood, which provides approximately 12,000 women in New Hampshire with access to necessary care. Senator Shaheen has been fighting for years to increase coverage of women’s preventative care in the annual defense authorization bill, and just last month, added an amendment to an appropriations bill that would boost funding for international family planning and reproductive health programs, and repeal the Global Gag Rule.
Senator Hassan has long fought to ensure that women have the freedom to make their own health care decisions, control their own destiny, and have access to affordable health coverage. Both as Governor and now as Senator, she has repeatedly fought back against attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, which provides critical health services to thousands of Granite State women and families. The Senator also helped introduce the Save Women’s Preventative Care Act to ensure that coverage for preventative health care services cannot be revised or rolled back by the Trump Administration.
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