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Arizona appeals temporary injunction blocking state funding law

by | Nov 29, 2012

By Dave Andrusko

The state of Arizona has appealed U.S. District Court Judge Neil Wake’s temporary injunction that prevents the state 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.

The state is asking the 9th U.S. Court of Appeals to overturn Judge Wake’s October 19 ruling on a lawsuit filed by the Planned Parenthood affiliate and a physician

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.

Mary Spaulding Balch, JD, 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 taxpayer funds going to abortion providers.”

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Categories: Legislation