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Federal Judge issues temporary injunction blocking Arizona funding law

by | Oct 22, 2012

By Dave Andrusko

On Friday U.S. District Court Judge Neil Wake issued a temporary injunction preventing the state of Arizona from implementing a new law that bars the state from contracting with or making a grant to any entity that performs an abortion or maintains an abortion facility.

Arizona’s ”Whole Woman’s Health Funding Priority Act” was signed into law in May by Gov. Jan Brewer and immediately challenged by Planned Parenthood. And because of the legal challenge, the law has never been implemented.

Brewer described HB 2800 as a measure that “closes loopholes in order to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to fund abortions, whether directly or indirectly.” The law provides that neither the state nor any political subdivision of the state “may . . . enter into a contract with or make a grant to” abortion providers for family-planning services. Further, “subject to any applicable requirements of federal law, regulations or guidelines,” the law establishes a priority system for entities that may receive family-planning funding.

“Agreeing with positions taken by Planned Parenthood and federal officials, Wake rejected the state’s argument that federal law lets states use broad parameters to decide whether health care providers are qualified to deliver Medicaid services, such as whether they provide abortions,” the Associated Press reported.

The state’s position is that PPFA would be eligible if it stops performing abortions or creates a separate legal entity.

Wake’s 28-page ruling is not the final word on the case but it does bar the state from enforcing the law while the case is being litigated. A hearing on the issues is scheduled for December.

Mary Spaudling Balch, NRLC’s director of State Legislation, told NRL News Today “The state is not required to subsidize abortion, directly or indirectly, and is totally within its right when it passes laws to prevent taxpayer dollars from going to the abortion industry.” She added, “The district court’s decision will ultimately be overturned, as it was in Texas. There is no right, constitutional or otherwise, to have taxpayers pay for abortion.”

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Categories: Legislation