On Friday, a federal judge overturned an Arizona law that prohibited funds from the state’s Medicaid program from going to Planned Parenthood because they are affiliated with abortion providers.
U.S. District Judge Neil Wake wrote in his ruling, “The Arizona Act violates the freedom of choice provision of the Medicaid Act precisely because every Medicaid beneficiary has the right to select any qualified health care provider.” He determined that the law blocking funding of Planned Parenthood by saying that any provider that performs abortions cannot be considered a “qualified provider” was an attempt by legislators to defund Planned Parenthood regardless of what funds were used.
Wake issued an injunction against the law in October 2012 while the case was pending. In July 2012, Planned Parenthood sued the state of Arizona in an effort to overturn the law that blocked it from receiving government funds. The law was signed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer in May 2012 and was designed to prevent the allocation of public funds to clinics that also provide abortion in the state. The law would have 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.