Second ruling in one week blocks illegal efforts to bar patients from Planned Parenthood

This Ruling Follows National “Pink Out” with Supporters Holding Nearly 300 Events across the Nation to Protest Repeated Attacks Against Planned Parenthood


Little Rock, ARA federal judge today issued a preliminary injunction to protect access to birth control, cancer screenings and other care for Planned Parenthood’s three patient co-plaintiffs. In September, Planned Parenthood and its patient co-plaintiffs filed suit to stop enforcement of Governor Asa Hutchinson’s illegal efforts to block Medicaid patients from accessing care at Planned Parenthood’s health centers. The ruling extends the previously issued temporary restraining order and will remain in place while the case proceeds.

In the decision, Judge Kristine G. Baker agreed that Planned Parenthood is a qualified Medicaid provider and that we are still a part of the Medicaid program while this lawsuit continues. Planned Parenthood is confident in the merits of our case, and we are evaluating options for going back to the court quickly and seeking expansion of the preliminary injunction to protect access to care for all of our Medicaid patients. Planned Parenthood's doors remain open and we will continue to work with individual patients to help them meet their health care needs, regardless of their ability to pay.

Earlier this week, a federal district judge in Utah ruled to protect Planned Parenthood patients' access to health care and education. To date, two federal Courts of Appeals, the Seventh and Ninth Circuits, have struck down similar requirements, blocking laws enacted in Indiana and Arizona, and the Supreme Court declined to review both of those rulings. Planned Parenthood continues to fight in court on behalf of its patients in Alabama and Louisiana against similar measures.

Earlier this week, a federal district judge in Utah ruled to protect Planned Parenthood patients’ access to health care and education. To date, two federal Courts of Appeals, the Seventh and Ninth Circuits, have struck down similar requirements, blocking laws enacted in Indiana and Arizona, and the Supreme Court declined to review both of those rulings. Planned Parenthood continues to fight in court on behalf of its patients in Alabama and Louisiana against similar measures.

In today’s order, Judge Kristine G. Baker wrote: "This Court concludes, as the United States Supreme Court did, that 42 U.S.C. § 1396a(a)(23) ‘gives recipients the right to choose among a range of qualified providers, without government interference.’… Further, the Court agrees that the right entails ‘an absolute right to be free from government interference with the choice to [receive family planning services from a provider] that continues to be qualified.’”

Earlier this week, millions of volunteers rallied in support of Planned Parenthood. Dubbed “National Pink Out Day,” holding close to 300 volunteer-led events in nearly 90 cities across the country and delivering more than 2.4 million “I Stand With Planned Parenthood” petition signatures to Congressional leaders. Planned Parenthood health centers offered free STD testing in 28 cities across the country, and supporters around the country tweeted and turned their social media profiles pink to show their support for Planned Parenthood.

“Governor Hutchinson’s order to cancel Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid contract is illegal and it does not reflect the values of Arkansans who care about women's health,” said Suzanna de Baca, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. “Our doors are open, we are here for our patients, and we will continue to do everything we can to uphold our patients’ right to safe, quality, compassionate care at Planned Parenthood.”

“For the second time this week, the courts ruled to protect access to care at Planned Parenthood. This is not about Planned Parenthood — it’s about the women who rely on us for basic care every day — and this isn't over,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Across the nation, the bogus accusations against Planned Parenthood are falling apart. And the American people have sent a clear message to lawmakers — they are sick of these attacks on Planned Parenthood and women’s health. At Planned Parenthood, we will never back down, and we will continue to make sure women in Arkansas and across the country can access basic reproductive health care.”

“Arkansans believe in the strength of their communities and helping each other when needed,” said Rita Sklar, executive director at the ACLU of Arkansas. “Planned Parenthood has helped thousands of people in our communities over the years, and today’s decision honors a long tradition of respect and compassion for others by protecting access to affordable health care at their Planned Parenthood health center.”

Planned Parenthood has two health centers in Arkansas, located in Little Rock and Fayetteville. In a single year, Planned Parenthood health centers in Arkansas provide approximately 4,400 patients high-quality reproductive health services including well-woman exams, lifesaving cancer screenings, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, HIV testing and risk reduction counseling, a full range of FDA-approved birth control methods, pregnancy testing and options counseling, and other preventive health services; and a significant proportion of these patients in Arkansas receive this care through Medicaid.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and its three patient co-plaintiffs are represented by attorneys with Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas.

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Planned Parenthood is the nation's leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation's largest provider of sex education. With approximately 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.

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Planned Parenthood Federation of America

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Published

October 02, 2015