Yet another court has said it is unacceptable for politicians to dictate where women can go for their health care: This time, a federal district court in Mississippi ruled that state politicians’ cannot block Medicaid patients from health care at Planned Parenthood health centers. In doing so, the court protected Planned Parenthood patients' access to birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, and other preventive care.
“Everyone deserves access to high-quality health care, no matter who you are or where you live. While legislators play politics with women’s health, we will continue to stand by Mississippi women and families who depend on our services for birth control, cancer screenings, STD tests and other lifesaving care.”
—Staci Fox, Planned Parenthood Southeast President and CEO
This ruling follows a string of recent victories protecting women's access to basic health care at Planned Parenthood, with courts preventing states from kicking Planned Parenthood out of Medicaid and other programs in Kansas, Louisiana, Ohio, Florida, Arizona, Alabama, and Arkansas.
About The Ruling
In its order, the Court underscored that the Mississippi law which kicked Planned Parenthood out of Medicaid was an illegal violation of Medicaid patients’ right to receive care from the qualified healthcare provider of their choice.
Planned Parenthood and its patients filed suit in Mississippi federal district court to stop politicians’ illegal attempt to block Medicaid patients from accessing birth control, cancer screenings, and other preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers. Just weeks after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance to lawmakers in all 50 states making it clear that efforts to block Planned Parenthood patients from accessing care through Medicaid violates long-standing federal law, Governor Phil Bryant signed a bill that prevented women, men and young people from accessing care at Planned Parenthood through Medicaid.
The ruling sided with the people who rely on Planned Parenthood for basic care every day.
“The courts just confirmed that no politician can tell Mississippians where they can or cannot go for care. We will continue to fight for our patient’s right to access health care at the provider of their choice.”
—Ashley B. Coffield, Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region President and CEO
Health Care Access in Mississippi
There is already an enormous unmet need for health care across Mississippi, and the need for publicly supported family planning services is especially great.
- 62% of pregnancies in Mississippi were unintended in 2010 (well above the national rate of 45%).
- Mississippi has the second highest rate of teen pregnancies in the country
- Planned Parenthood’s Hattiesburg clinic is located in a district that has the third highest rate of HIV in the state and provides care in an HHS-designed Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Area — a geographic area in which primary care professionals are practically inaccessible.
Learn More About Mississippi
See reproductive rights news and ways to get involved at PlannedParenthoodAction.org/News/Mississippi.