Little Rock, AR – A federal judge today issued a temporary restraining order to protect Arkansas women and men’s access to birth control, cancer screenings, and other care at Planned Parenthood, including three patient co-plaintiffs. The injunction will stop enforcement of Governor Asa Hutchinson’s illegal efforts to block Medicaid patients from accessing care at Planned Parenthood’s health centers until October 2, while the court considers Planned Parenthood’s request for a preliminary injunction. 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.
“Yet another court has ruled to stop politicians from blocking access to care at Planned Parenthood. This is a victory for women in Arkansas and Planned Parenthood’s 2.7 million patients across the country,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “At Planned Parenthood, we will never back down and we will never stop fighting for our patients to access the care they need and deserve.”
“We are grateful the court has ruled on the side of the women, men and teens in Arkansas who rely on Planned Parenthood for care,” said Suzanna de Baca, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. “It’s disgraceful that politicians like Governor Hutchinson are willing to put women’s lives on the line to score political points. For our patients, this isn’t about politics—it’s about staying healthy and building a future.”
“To date, two federal Courts of Appeals, the Seventh and Ninth Circuits, have blocked similar laws enacted in Indiana and Arizona, and the Supreme Court declined to review both of those rulings," said Rita Sklar, Executive Director for the ACLU of Arkansas. "We are confident in the merits of this case and hope the federal courts will ultimately rule on the side of the women who rely on Medicaid programs for basic, preventive health care."
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.
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
September 18, 2015