February 12, 2013 — A federal judge on Friday struck down an Arizona law (HB 2800) that barred distribution of family planning funds to organizations that also provide abortions, Reuters reports. Arizona is among several states that have adopted the approach as a way to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood, which filed the lawsuit challenging the state's law.
U.S. District Judge Neil Wake in October issued a temporary injunction against the law. In Friday's decision, Wake wrote that the law "violates the freedom of choice provision of the [federal] Medicaid Act precisely because every Medicaid beneficiary has the right to select any qualified health care provider" (Schwartz, Reuters, 2/11).
He added that the state "may not restrict a beneficiary's right to select any qualified provider for reasons wholly unrelated to the provider's ability to deliver Medicaid services" (Bassett, Huffington Post, 2/11).
Bryan Howard, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona, in a statement said, "Politics should never interfere with a woman's breast exam or birth control." The organization provides thousands of Arizona women with health care services, about 3% of which are abortions, according to PPAZ officials (Reuters, 2/11).
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said the judge's decision "thwarts the will of Arizona taxpayers to stop funding big abortion businesses such as Planned Parenthood" (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 2/11).