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Federal judge overturns Arizona law cutting Planned Parenthood funding

A judge for the US District Court for the District of Arizona [official website] on Friday overturned [order, PDF] a state law last that would have blocked funding for Planned Parenthood [advocacy website] clinics because the organization also performs abortions. The law [HB 2800, PDF] was passed [JURIST report] last May but has has been on temporary hold since October following a lawsuit by Planned Parenthood. US District Court Judge Neil Wake, who enjoined [JURIST report] Arizona from implementing the public funding law in October, ruled the law would violate the freedom of choice provision of the Medicaid Act [text], which provides Medicaid beneficiaries the right to obtain services from any qualified Medicaid provider, and granted Planned Parenthood's motion for summary judgment. The case is expected to be appealed by the state.

Numerous states have recently increased restrictions on abortions, leading to several legal challenges. Last week the Arkansas House of Representatives [official website] approved a ban on abortions [JURIST report] after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The bill will now advance to the state Senate, which recently approved a ban on abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected [JURIST report]. In December a state judge in Georgia enjoined a law [JURIST report] banning doctors from providing abortions for women more than 20 weeks into gestation. In November Montana voters passed a referendum [JURIST report] requiring facilities and doctors to inform parents of minors 16 to 48 hours before a planned abortion procedure. Also that month the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] heard oral arguments [JURIST report] on a challenge to Arizona's law which, like Georgia's law, bans abortions after 20 weeks. Planned Parenthood also sued Texas [JURIST report] in October claiming that its law preventing state funding from going to any clinics affiliated with providing abortions violates another state law.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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