The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to review lower court decisions that blocked two states’ efforts to disqualify Planned Parenthood clinics from public Medicaid funds. The court’s refusal to hear the cases from Kansas and Louisiana means that the lower court rulings—which found that terminating Medicaid contracts with Planned Parenthood would violate federal law—stand. It would have taken four justices to agree to hear the issue, and only three conservative justices, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch, voted to hear the case. Justice Brett Kavanaugh voted with Chief Justice John Roberts, siding with the court’s liberals and avoiding high-profile abortion-related issues for now.
“It is true that these particular cases arose after several states alleged that Planned Parenthood affiliates had, among other things, engaged in the ‘illegal sale of fetal organs’ and ‘fraudulent billing practices,’ and thus removed Planned Parenthood as a state Medicaid provider,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in a dissent. “But these cases are not about abortion rights. They are about private rights of action under the Medicaid Act…. Some tenuous connection to a politically fraught issue does not justify abdicating our judicial duty.”