Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit against the state of Arizona on Monday in an attempt to overturn HB 2800, which restricts funding for its health clinics. Under the bill, individuals who are eligible for Medicaid may not seek health services at Planned Parenthood because the organization also performs abortions — a tactic to defund Planned Parenthood clinics. Conservatives have used this attack in 13 states across the country this past year.
Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) signed HB 2800 into law this May, and it will go into effect on August 2 unless Planned Parenthood’s efforts are successful. Under the law, nearly 3,000 Medicaid patients who currently receive birth control and other preventive care at Planned Parenthood clinics will no longer be eligible for services there. Of course, low-income women who are eligible for Medicaid are often the population that most benefits from access to affordable preventative care at health clinics like Planned Parenthood.
In a press release from earlier today, Planned Parenthood Arizona’s President and CEO Bryan Howard expressed concern about Arizona’s push to deny low-income women access to his organization’s health services:
HOWARD: It is wrong for the state to tell Arizonans who they can and cannot see for their health care. The men and women of this state have the right to see the health care provider they deem is best for them. [...] It is unfortunate that our state and its 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 the get the health care they need from the provider they choose.
Following the Arizona legislature’s most recent anti-choice crusade, this is the second recent lawsuit to be filed against the state over radical anti-abortion legislation. Last week, three doctors — represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Arizona, and the Center for Reproductive Rights — sued Arizona over HB 2036, which has been widely considered the most extreme abortion ban in the nation because it criminalizes almost all abortions after just 20 weeks. Brewer signed HB 2036 into law this April.
Arizona is one of 26 states that the Guttmacher Institute considers “hostile to abortion rights.” Arizona’s two bills are in addition to the 37 other new laws restricting women’s access to abortion services that have been introduced in the first half of this year alone.