FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PHOENIX – Today, a U.S. District Court judge issued a permanent injunction that will prevent Gov. Jan Brewer’s administration from cutting off thousands of Arizona women from lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, and testing for STIs at Planned Parenthood health centers in Arizona. Judge Neil Wake’s ruling confirms the state has violated federal law in attempting to block patients from accessing PPAZ’s services solely because PPAZ separately provides safe and legal abortions. This is a victory for women served by Planned Parenthood Arizona and private providers.
Statement from Bryan Howard, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona
“The court’s ruling today is a victory for all Arizonans. This case has never been about Planned Parenthood Arizona – it is about the 3,000 AHCCCS patients we serve and all Arizona women.
“Judge Wake’s issuance of a permanent injunction indicates that the law is on the side of women; politics should never interfere with a woman’s breast exam or birth control. It is wrong for the state to tell Arizonans who can be their health care provider.
“For 78 years, Arizonans have relied on Planned Parenthood to provide them with the care they want and need – affordable, quality prevention care. Politics will not interfere with the care of the individuals we serve. Our health centers are open today and they will be open tomorrow.”
In July, Planned Parenthood Arizona challenged in federal court a state law intended to “defund” Planned Parenthood Arizona and block 3,000 AHCCCS enrollees from the women’s health care provider they currently rely on. A federal court issued an order suspending implementation and enforcement of the law in August. In October, the court ruled in favor of PPAZ, preventing the state from enforcing the law.
Planned Parenthood’s case is primarily based on a federal statute that protects Medicaid beneficiaries’ freedom to select the qualified medical provider of their own choosing. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicaid Services has stated repeatedly that states cannot limit a Medicaid beneficiary’s ability to choose a family planning provider based on the scope of services provided. The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently affirmed an injunction against a similar effort by Indiana to exclude abortion providers from the Medicaid Program. Other efforts to defund Planned Parenthood have been blocked by federal courts in Kansas, North Carolina and Tennessee.
Last year, Planned Parenthood Arizona provided more than 9,400 Pap tests, 16,200 tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, more than 33,700 breast exams and 85,400 contraceptives to all its patients.
· One in five women in the U.S. has visited a Planned Parenthood health center at least once in her life.
o Planned Parenthood health centers see two million patients for birth control, conduct 585,000 breast exams, and provide nearly 4.5 million STI tests/treatments annually.
o More than 90 percent of the services Planned Parenthood health centers provide are preventive (cancer screenings, STI tests, birth control, etc.).
· Federal funds cannot be used for abortion services at Planned Parenthood health centers. In 1976, Congress passed the Hyde Amendment, which forbids federal funding for abortion under the Medicaid program. The only exceptions are in cases of rape, incest, and danger to the life of the woman.
· Family planning programs also save money nationwide. For every $1 spent on family planning, $3.74 is saved.
· A majority of Americans recognize the fundamental role that Planned Parenthood preventive health care services play in keeping women healthy. Recent polling research shows support for federal funding for Planned Parenthood was a key factor in support for President Obama in the November election.
o On the issue of providing federal funding to Planned Parenthood health centers to pay for preventive health care such as cancer screenings and breast exams, voters were more likely to vote for Obama by a 22 percentage-point margin (49 to 27 percent).
o Women favored Obama by a 31 percentage-point margin (54 to 23 percent) on this issue.
In the community for 78 years, Planned Parenthood Arizona is the leading sexual health organization in Arizona. The organization provides health care, education and outreach services to more than 90,000 men, women, teens and parents annually. Planned Parenthood Arizona operates health center locations statewide in Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, Prescott Valley and Yuma. For more information, please visit www.ppaz.org.