A federal judge on Friday ordered Arkansas to temporarily reinstate its Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood after the state blocked funding over concerns about secretly recorded videos released by an anti-abortion group.
U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker granted Planned Parenthood of the Heartland's request to block for 14 days the state from denying funding to the organization. Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson last month announced he was terminating the contract.
The state's cancellation of the contract took effect Sunday, and Planned Parenthood says it would have affected Medicaid patients scheduled to visit its health centers starting Sept. 21.
The state says Planned Parenthood received more than $51,000 in Medicaid payments in Arkansas over the past fiscal year for family planning and gynecological services. None of the money went toward abortions.
Hutchinson earlier this year signed into law a measure prohibiting public funding to abortion providers and entities that refer women to abortion providers, a move aimed at blocking any money to Planned Parenthood. But the new law didn't apply to Medicaid funding. Planned Parenthood had previously received money for sex education funding.
Republicans around the country have targeted Planned Parenthood after several videos were released by the anti-abortion Center for Medical Progress.
The center said the videos showed that Planned Parenthood illegally sells fetal tissue for profit. Planned Parenthood has said the organization receives legal payment only for the cost of the procedure and requires a mother's consent before the tissue is given to researchers.
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Arkansas is among several states that have moved to block Medicaid funding because of the videos. Planned Parenthood has filed similar lawsuits in Louisiana and Alabama challenging the defunding moves. The U.S. Justice Department has argued that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's decision to cut off Medicaid funds to the group appeared to violate federal law.