Utah latest state to try--and fail--to block care at Planned Parenthood
Salt Lake City, UT– Yesterday, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an emergency order to protect access to health care and education at Planned Parenthood health centers in Utah--making Utah one among a number of states, including Alabama, Louisiana, and Arkansas, to try and fail to block care at Planned Parenthood in just the past five months.
Public health experts across Utah have decried Governor Herbert’s politically motivated actions and warned about the devastating consequences for Utahns. Herbert’s own Department of Health advised him that blocking care at Planned Parenthood would“harm people of Utah” and put people’s health at risk --- 4,400 men and women would not receive STD testing, and 3,725 people with chlamydia or gonorrhea and their partners would not receive treatment. Lisa Nichols, executive director of Midtown Community Health Centers, told the Standard Examiner, “We’re at capacity, and we turn people away every day...We can’t absorb their [Planned Parenthood’s] clients if they close.”
Yesterday’s emergency order blocks Governor Gary Herbert from cutting off thousands of patients who depend on Planned Parenthood Association of Utah for lifesaving, affordable health care and education programs while Planned Parenthood appeals a district court ruling from last week in the state’s favor. This means that Utah women and men can still access health care and education at Planned Parenthood while the legal proceedings move forward.
Statement from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“The federal appellate court has sided with women’s health and rights and against politicians who insist on interfering in women's deeply personal health care decisions. Utah’s own Department of Health has agreed that cutting access to care at Planned Parenthood would leave thousands of patients with no where else to turn. It’s shameful that Governor Herbert continues to play political games when the health care of women and families is in the balance. Utah is not alone --- courts in Louisiana, Alabama, and Arkansas have also protected access to care, and we will not stop fighting in these states and across the country to ensure that everyone has access to high-quality and compassionate health care at Planned Parenthood.”
Statement from Karrie Galloway, Planned Parenthood Association of Utah:
“This emergency order is a victory for the thousands of Utah women, men, and their families who rely on Planned Parenthood. This ruling confirms what we already know: that cutting programs that help Utahns make responsible decisions and stay healthy is a losing proposition, that playing politics with Utahns’ lives is unacceptable, and that Planned Parenthood Association of Utah has done nothing wrong. While we appeal the trial court’s order from last week, we will continue these programs, and our doors will stay open. We are committed to providing care and education – no matter what.”
Utah is one of several states that has tried to restrict access to reproductive health care. Planned Parenthood has filed suitagainst the state of Texas for a similar attempt to ban patients from Planned Parenthood health centers, after courts blocked similar efforts in Arkansas, Alabama, and Louisiana in recent months. In August, the state of Georgia backed down on threats to end the ability of Planned Parenthood to use state labs to provide critical STD testing services. The state of Alabama abandoned their attacks against Planned Parenthood after a federal judge blocked Alabama Governor Bentley’s attempt to restrict patients’ ability to obtain care from Planned Parenthood through the Medicaid program.
In Ohio, politicians tried to target patients who relied on Planned Parenthood for 47,000 tests for sexually transmitted infections in 2015--insisting patients can turn to dentist offices, school nurses and a food bank for this care. And Ohio is not the first state to insist that dentists can perform women’s gynecological exams. After attempting to cut off Louisiana’s Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood, attorneys for the Jindal administration claimed that Planned Parenthood’s more than 5,200 Medicaid patients could go to dentists, orthopedists, and audiologists for reproductive health care.
For more information on Planned Parenthood Association of Utah v. Herbert, including a case timeline and court documents, please click here.
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.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
December 31, 2015