The Corner

Law & the Courts

CNN Claims SCOTUS ‘Sides with Planned Parenthood’ in Denying Cert

The Supreme Court this afternoon declined to hear a case involving public funding of groups that provide abortion procedures, such as Planned Parenthood. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the Court’s four activist justices in voting to deny cert, and the remaining three issued a blistering dissent, authored by Justice Clarence Thomas.

Immediately after the decision was announced this morning, CNN published an article entitled “Supreme Court sides with Planned Parenthood in funding fight.” A Politico reporter, meanwhile, tweeted that “ROBERTS and KAVANAUGH [sic] joined with the court’s progressives to preserve Planned Parenthood’s public funding.”

Both of these assertions are inaccurate. The Supreme Court didn’t side with Planned Parenthood, nor did it preserve the abortion provider’s funding. It declined to hear the case at all, and the decision not to grant cert took no position on the merits of the case. Claiming that the decision in some way affirmed abortion funding is patently false.

What’s more, the case itself had to do with whether Medicaid recipients have standing to challenge states’ determination of which groups qualify as Medicaid providers. There is currently a circuit-court split on the question. The merits of any given state law on public funding of abortion isn’t at stake in the case at all.

Nonetheless, the CNN article claimed that “the case concerned whether [states] can block Medicaid funds from offices that provide such women with annual health screens, contraceptive coverage and cancer screening.” It didn’t. It concerned whether individuals have the standing to bring their own suit against a state’s determination of which providers qualify under Medicaid.

It’s almost as if journalists are willing to abandon the facts in order to convince readers that Planned Parenthood is under unjust attack — and that the Supreme Court has sided with the abortion corporation.

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