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Victory! Judge Throws Out Arizona Planned Parenthood Law

Recent ruling by a federal judge ruled against an Arizona state law which banned Planned Parenthood from working with Medicare members.

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A federal judge last Friday overturned HB 2800, a state law in Arizona that banned Planned Parenthood from contracting with Medicaid.

From The New American:

In his 11-page ruling shooting down the measure duly passed by the state’s elected lawmakers, federal Judge Neil Wake said that there was no reason to believe the abortion giant was not qualified to provide non-abortion “family planning” services covered under the federal medical assistance program, and that the law appeared to be an attempt by Arizona legislators to disqualify Planned Parenthood from state and federal funding.

Anti-abortion advoate Governor Jan Brewer had signed this bill, misleadingly called “The Whole Woman’s Health Funding Priority Act,” into law last May, thereby blocking Medicaid family planning funds from flowing to any health organization that provided abortions. It effectively prevented thousands of low-income Medicaid recipients in Arizona from choosing Planned Parenthood as a health and family planning provider.

Despite the fact that the use of public funds for abortions was already restricted, this particular funding was intended to ban prohibited money from going to any health care providers that provided abortions at all.

Of course, making health care services inaccessible doesn’t make the need for those services go away. What it does mean is that women have to go to greater expense simply to take care of their bodies. And if it costs too much, women will choose to skip doctors’ appointments.

During a signing ceremony Governor Brewer called the measure a “common-sense law that tightens existing state regulations and closes loopholes in order to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to fund abortions, whether directly or indirectly. By signing this measure into law, I stand with the majority of Americans who oppose the use of taxpayer funds for abortion.”

But not everyone agreed with Brewer. Planned Parenthood has fought back in every state that has removed its funding, pointing out that this is an assault on all women making their own decisions about their bodies, and particularly an assault on poor women.

The state of Indiana has also been able to stop the defunding of Planned Parenthood, but not so in Texas. As The Washington Post points out, the big difference between the two cases is that Indiana wanted to continue using federal dollars for its program.

From The Washington Post:

These two rulings, taken together, suggest states have a pretty stark choice if they want to defund Planned Parenthood. They can ditch federal funding and, under the Fifth Circuit’s interpretation, move forward. But if they want to continue using Medicaid dollars, as Indiana has done, the court system looks to be less amenable to such a program.

And if you thought women sent a strong signal during the election that they disagreed with the war on women, apparently not everyone heard them: just a few weeks into this new Congress, there are already not one, but two, bills that attempt to defund Planned Parenthood. Tennessee Representatives Marsha Blackburn and Diane Black have both introduced bills that would prohibit family planning grants from going to organizations that provide abortions.

The war on women is still raging, but Planned Parenthood’s success in Arizona shows that we are still ready to fight.

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