Planned Parenthood's biggest nemesis isn't the GOP — or even pro-lifers. Lately, it's the democratic process. When abortion groups started moving into the extreme territory staked out by Barack Obama — pushing late-term, taxpayer-funded, and unregulated abortions — most Americans didn't move with them. So, like most liberals with unpopular agendas, Planned Parenthood turned to the only place capable of giving them the victories they couldn't win legislatively: the courts.
But the crop of activist judges willing to do the abortion movement's bidding is shrinking — thanks to the growing number of originalists nominated by Donald Trump to fill the federal courts' vacancies. Suddenly, Cecile Richards and friends are faced with an unpleasant reality: voters who don't agree with their far-Left fanaticism and courts less willing to sanction it.
That has serious ramifications in places like Arkansas, where state Medicaid funding (which is one of the biggest pots of Planned Parenthood's money) has kept the group afloat through one scandal after another. Like several Republican governors, Asa Hutchinson (R) ended Arkansas's forced partnership with the group in 2015, when David Daleiden released his first string of undercover videos. With the image of tiny beating baby hearts burned into taxpayers' minds, the legislature pulled the plug on the group's cash and redirected the money to other health clinics.
Frantic to keep its grip on the state's money, Richards sued. While the case wormed its way through the courts, Arkansas was forced to put its law on hold. This, despite U.S. House, Senate, FBI, and state investigations into the group's criminal baby-parts-for-profits scheme. In a major win for pro-lifers and the legislative process, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals saw the ridiculousness of unelected judges telling states how to spend their money and ruled that Arkansas could stop payment to Planned Parenthood.
On Monday, leaders did exactly that, announcing that the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services had officially cut off Planned Parenthood. "Every individual ought to have the freedom to choose their health care provider," an organization spokesman argued. But what about the freedom of states to choose where their money goes? Women are welcome to go to Planned Parenthood any time they want -- but they aren't free to force Arkansas into paying for it.
Thanks to this commonsense decision, other states may soon be able to celebrate the same autonomy. Leaders in Texas, where activist courts struck down a similar law, are thrilled for Arkansas because it means there's finally a split in the decisions of our federal appeals courts. On issues of this magnitude, that's almost always a one-way ticket to the U.S. Supreme Court, where pro-lifers would be more than happy to have new Justice Neil Gorsuch weigh in. In the meantime, the evidence would suggest that Americans can thank Donald Trump for his efforts which are bringing balancing the bench. People who voted for this president based solely on the courts certainly haven't been disappointed!
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.