FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
U.S. Supreme Court Announcement is Another Court Victory for Women’s Health
Blocking Women’s Access to Health Care Won’t Be Tolerated by the Courts
ARIZONA – The U.S. Supreme Court announced today it will not review a lower court decision that preserves the right of women in the Medicaid program to access preventive health care services at Planned Parenthood health centers in Arizona. Since 2011, eight federal courts — six federal district courts and two courts of appeals — have ruled that states may not disqualify Planned Parenthood from providing preventive health services. The Supreme Court has now twice declined to review these decisions.
"This ruling is a victory for Arizona women and their families,” said Bryan Howard, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Arizona. “The men and women of this state have the right to see the health care provider they deem is best for them. Thousands of low-income women rely on Planned Parenthood for breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control, and other basic health care. Politics should never interfere with a woman’s access to vital services.”
A federal district court permanently enjoined the 2012 Arizona state law (HB 2800) that would have excluded physicians who provide safe and legal abortion from the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS). The court found that the law violated the federal Medicaid Act, which protects patients’ rights to make their own decisions about health care providers. Last August, an appeals court unanimously agreed. Despite overwhelming court precedent, the state of Arizona still requested the Supreme Court to review the case to block Planned Parenthood’s participation in Medicaid. Polling consistently shows the majority of Americans oppose these efforts.
Just like hospitals and other health care providers, Planned Parenthood Arizona’s health centers receive reimbursements from Medicaid only for specific eligible services after they have been provided to patients.
For nearly 80 years, Arizonans have relied on Planned Parenthood to provide them with the care they want and need – expert quality prevention care that includes life-saving cancer screenings, birth control, testing and treatment of STDs, and much more, to women and men.
In the community for 80 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. For more information, please visit www.ppaz.org.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed a law on May 4, 2012, that bars abortion providers from participating in the state’s Medicaid program. In July 2012, Planned Parenthood Arizona filed a lawsuit to block enforcement of the law. A federal court enjoined the law, agreeing that the law violated the Medicaid Act, which guarantees enrollees the freedom to choose their health care provider. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that decision on August 22, 2013.
The other Court of Appeals to consider this argument, the Seventh Circuit, blocked a similar effort by Indiana, and the Supreme Court recently declined to review that decision. Federal courts have blocked state efforts in Kansas, North Carolina, Indiana, Tennessee, and Arizona to deny funding for preventive health care services provided by Planned Parenthood.
Prior to this petition, this litigation already cost the state of Arizona approximately $279,000 in legal fees alone, which is what it would cost for Arizona to provide clinical breast exams or cervical cancer screenings to thousands of AHCCCS patients. It would have cost the state even more to litigate the case in the Supreme Court had the Court taken the case.