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Supreme Court Nullifies Ruling Saying South Carolina Can't Defund Planned Parenthood

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Supreme Court made a decision in the case of Health and Hospital Corp. of Marion County v. Talevski. The ACLJ believes the case holds significance due to its legal similarities with their case, Kerr v. Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, which challenges the ability of states to defund Planned Parenthood.

Kerr allegedly originated from an executive order issued by South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster. The order reportedly directed the state's Department of Health & Human Services to disqualify abortion clinics from receiving Medicaid funding. Planned Parenthood and an individual plaintiff filed a lawsuit in federal court to challenge the state's decision. South Carolina lost in both the district court and the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

The Kerr case is a significant matter that could potentially affect the states' capacity to halt the allocation of taxpayer funds to the country's biggest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood.


The state of South Carolina requested the Supreme Court to review a case, and the ACLJ submitted a brief as a friend-of-the-court. The brief supported South Carolina's stance and the ability of states to disqualify Planned Parenthood as a Medicaid health care provider.

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The case of Talevski did not pertain to abortion, but instead focused on the interpretation of the Federal Nursing Home Amendments Act (FNHRA), which is a distinct statute from the Medicaid Act. However, ACLJ believes the Court's analysis in Talevski offered guidance to lower courts, including the Fourth Circuit, on how to approach the statutory interpretation issues found in Kerr.

The Court issued a ruling in Kerr less than two weeks after deciding Talevski. The Court reviewed Kerr but nullified the Fourth Circuit's decision. The case was remanded by the high court, which instructed the Fourth Circuit to review its previous decision in consideration of the Supreme Court's Talevski opinion. Instead of evaluating the legal arguments in Kerr, the Court returned the case to the Fourth Circuit for a new review. The Fourth Circuit needs to review its prior ruling in Kerr and utilize the instructions provided in Talevski when interpreting the Medicaid Act.

It remains to be seen whether the Fourth Circuit will follow the guidance provided by the Talevski case and change their decision. However, the ACLJ asserts it is certain that the effort to defund Planned Parenthood is ongoing and could potentially be resolved by the Supreme Court. It is acknowledged that with the user's continued support, there will be efforts to oppose the use of taxpayer funds to support abortion clinics.

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