Arizona joins trend of anti-women’s health Governors as the 24th state to attack on patients’ access to care
Washington, D.C. – Arizona became the 24th state to attack basic reproductive health care yesterday, as Governor Doug Ducey signed a law creating a legal vehicle for the state to block access to basic, preventive care at Planned Parenthood through Medicaid. The could block services like HIV & STD testing, birth control, and cancer screenings for more than 2,500 Medicaid patients each year.
Since July, Planned Parenthood has filed suit in 15 cases to protect access to care at its health centers. Since that time, politicians in at least 24 states have threatened or succeeded in blocking patients’ access to care at Planned Parenthood health centers. According to the Congressional Budget Office, if patients who rely on public health programs are blocked from coming to Planned Parenthood, up to 650,000 people would face decreased access to health care in just a one-year period.
Statement from Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“Governor Ducey is playing politics with health care. This is a blatantly political attack on care at Planned Parenthood, putting the health and lives of women at risk in the process. As a health care provider, Planned Parenthood will not stop fighting for our patients.”
Statement from Bryan Howard, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Arizona:
“This law is bad for Arizonans, plain and simple. The intent is clear: to target access to birth control, cancer screenings, STD tests, and other critical care for the 2,500 Medicaid patients who rely on Planned Parenthood. Governor Ducey should be ashamed, and Arizonans will not stand for this.”
Statement from Grecia Magdaleno, Planned Parenthood Arizona Patient
“Patients like me don’t go to Planned Parenthood to make a political statement—we go for affordable and quality health care that we need. There is nowhere else that I could get the same level of high-quality, trusted care. The law is clearly intended to attack Planned Parenthood and close down health centers. If my care were cut off, I’m not sure what I would do. For me it would be nearly impossible to access care.”
This came right as Arizona was shamed into repealing new restrictions on Medication abortion that flew in the face of evidence-based medical practice and new guidance from the FDA. Yet Ducey and the Arizona legislature completely disregarded guidance issued by the Obama Administration to lawmakers in all fifty states reiterating that recent politically motivated efforts to block Planned Parenthood patients from accessing care through Medicaid violate long-standing federal law. A similar 2012 law in Arizona was struck down by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Blocking care at Planned Parenthood has very real and devastating consequences for the communities served. In Texas, a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that blocking patients from going to Planned Parenthood led to a 35% decline in women on Medicaid using the most effective methods of birth control and a dramatic 27% spike in births among women who had previously had access to injectable contraception through Medicaid.
Planned Parenthood is an integral health care provider in Arizona, a state that’s access to health care is among the worst in the country. This law would have an outsized impact on people with low-income and communities of color, both groups which have historically faced systemic barriers in accessing quality health care. Annually, Planned Parenthood health centers in Arizona serve more than 11,000 Latinos. In Maricopa County alone, Planned Parenthood served over 60% of the women in need of affordable contraception at publicly funded family planning health centers.
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 over 650 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.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
May 18, 2016