Planned Parenthood Sues AZ over New Law
Planned Parenthood sued the state of Arizona on Monday in an effort to overturn a new law that blocks it from receiving government funds. The law was signed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer in May, and is designed to prevent the allocation of public funds to clinics that also provide abortion in the state. The law will effectively cut funding for all health services provided by Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, impacting the nearly 4,000 women receiving Medicaid-funded health care in the state. Arizona does not currently provide tax dollars for abortion and these funds were all allocated for other health services.
Planned Parenthood is saying the law will put thousands of women's lives at risk. In addition to providing abortion services to women, Planned Parenthood provides a range of health services, such as STI testing, cancer screenings, vaccinations, birth control, and sexual health education often at a reduced cost for low-income women. In a statement released in May, President of Planned Parenthood Arizona Bryan Howard said, "It is unfortunate that lawmakers continue to put ideology and politics before the welfare of Arizonans. Women and men who come to Planned Parenthood aren't making a political statement, they are coming to get the health care they need."
In the past two years, 13 states have attempted to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood. The organization has filed lawsuits in six of them, and won injunctions in five, including Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, on the basis that it is being punished for providing constitutionally protected services and that these laws are blocking women's access to preventive healthcare. Last week the Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union also filed a lawsuit against Arizona in an attempt to block a restrictive new anti-abortion law signed by Brewer that bans most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Media Resources: Reuters 7/16/12; Arizona Daily Star 7/17/12; Planned Parenthood Press Statement 5/8/12; Feminist Daily Newswire 5/7/12, 7/13/12