Federal judge blocks North Carolina Planned Parenthood defunding law

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina [official website] on Friday issued a preliminary injunction against a provision in North Carolina's budget that denies state and federal funding to Planned Parenthood [advocacy website] for family planning and teen sex education services. The order provides temporary relief until a lawsuit, filed last month by Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina (PPCNC) [advocacy website], seeking to overturn the restriction [JURIST report] can be heard. Judge James Beaty, Jr. cited the legislative history [AP report] behind the state's budget [text, PDF; materials], passed over the veto of Governor Beverly Perdue [official website], in ruling that section 10.19 was included in the bill as a politically-motivated effort to improperly penalize the organization. Janet Colm, president of PPCNC, described [press release] the decision as, "a strong ruling that Planned Parenthood is likely to prevail on all of our arguments and that an injunction is needed to ensure that uninsured and low-income women, men, and teens of North Carolina continue to have access to basic health care and education." PPCNC said that over the last fiscal year, it provided health family planning and reproductive health exams for nearly 7,000 women, as well as providing almost 8,300 tests for sexually transmitted diseases.

Several states have made efforts similar to North Carolina's attempt to cut funding for abortion [JURIST news archive] services. The state of Kansas filed [JURIST report] an appeal earlier this month seeking to overturn a federal judge's ruling that blocks a state law preventing Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri (PPKM) [advocacy website] from receiving federal funding. The same week, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) [advocacy website] filed [JURIST report] an amicus curiae brief seeking to uphold an Indiana state law that would block Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood of Indiana (PPIN) [advocacy website] and other organizations providing abortion services. In June, Perdue also vetoed [JURIST report] a North Carolina bill that would have required women seeking an abortion to wait 24 hours and to view an ultrasound of the fetus before an abortion. Perdue called the measure "a dangerous intrusion into the confidential relationship that exists between women and their doctors." The legislature later overrode her veto [JURIST report]

 

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