Planned Parenthood Sues Ariz. for Defunding
Planned Parenthood filed suit with the District Court of Arizona on Monday to dispute a new state law which cuts off public funding to the organization because it performs abortions on patients, as well as supplies other health services to women.
"It is wrong for the state to tell Arizonans who they can and cannot see for their healthcare. The men and women of this state have the right to see the healthcare provider they deem is best for them," Bryan Howard, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood Arizona, told Reuters.
Planned Parenthood will be represented in court by the American Civil Liberties Union, a nonpartisan, nonprofit legal organization which seeks to protect civil liberties, according to its mission statement.
Planned Parenthood is suing the state under the argument that defunding the organization limits women from receiving an array of constitutionally protected, preventive health services, including breast cancer exams and sexually transmitted disease testing.
Planned Parenthood clinics provide breast health education and screenings but do not offer mammograms, only referrals for them.
Additionally, Planned Parenthood argues that abortions account for three percent of its cumulative health services, although it is still the largest provider of abortions in the U.S.
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Planned Parenthood is pushing back against a national initiative to stop abortions in the U.S. As Reuters reports, in the past two years, 13 states have made advances in refusing funding to Planned Parenthood, and so far, the organization has combatted six states, including Arizona, by filing lawsuits.
Arizona's bill, which was signed into law in May by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, is scheduled to take effect Aug. 2, lest it be shot down by the federal court.
According to Fox News, Arizona already bars the allocation of public funds for abortion, but legislators backing the new law argue that they want to ensure no funds will be indirectly siphoned to Planned Parenthood.
Governor Brewer, a Republican, has said that she is confident the law will be upheld in federal court.
Those in support of the national campaign to defund Planned Parenthood say that defunding the organization would be an "upgrade" to women's health care, as it would direct money away from Planned Parenthood and funnel it into hospitals and other clinics which do not perform abortions but cater to all other female health care needs.
"The emphasis is on comprehensive whole woman care, so instead of them going to Planned Parenthood to receive one type of service, they will now be going to qualified health clinics where they can get mammograms, treatment for hypertension and depression, dental care, all these things Planned Parenthood doesn't provide," Mallory Quigley, communications director for pro-life organization The Susan B. Anthony List, told The Huffington Post in reference to a similar Pennsylvania bill being introduced in May.
"All it is is an upgrade of women's health care without any additional cost to the taxpayer," she added.
Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser insisted that the Whole Woman's Health Funding Priority Act is "pro-woman legislation."
Pennsylvania's Planned Parenthood defunding bill has yet to be voted on.
Indiana, Texas, North Carolina, Kansas, and Tennessee have also implemented similar laws blocking Planned Parenthood from receiving public funding, but in these states, Planned Parenthood has won its injunctions and federal courts have blocked the laws from taking effect.