ACLU and Planned Parenthood challenge Arizona law affecting abortion News
ACLU and Planned Parenthood challenge Arizona law affecting abortion

[JURIST] The Arizona affiliates of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Planned Parenthood [advocacy websites] filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] on Thursday challenging an Arizona law they claim [press release] will “prevent low-income women from obtaining healthcare from their provider of choice.” The groups are challenging HB 2599 [materials], which would require medical providers to “segregate taxpayer dollars from abortions, including the use of taxpayer dollars for any overhead expenses attributable to abortions” in order to remain a part of Arizona’s medicaid program. The complainants believe that this requirement is “unclear” and will lead to “arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement” by the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System [official website], the agency responsible for administering the Medicaid program. Moreover, the complaint alleges that this law would impede Medicaid enrollees’ right to “receive covered services from the qualified provider of their choice by federal law” in violation of federal Medicaid statutes, as well as Due Process and Equal Protection. Arizona previously attempted to pass similar legislation which prevented anyone who performed abortions under any circumstances, including in cases of rape, from being a part of the state Medicaid system. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website], in agreeing with a lower district court decision, upheld an injunction against the law in Planned Parenthood Arizona, Inc. v. Betlach [opinion, PDF]. The ACLU and Planned Parenthood are seeking both declaratory and injunctive relief.

This law is the most recent in a slew of state laws attempting to cut back on women’s access to abortion. Earlier this month in a US district judge issued a preliminary injunction [JURIST report] against a law intended to cut state funding to clinics administering abortions. That same week a federal judge placed an injunction [JURIST report] on an Indiana law that would have banned women from seeking abortion procedures when they are based on race, sex, or the potential for or actual diagnosis of a disability in the fetus. Recently the US Supreme Court ruled [opinion, PDF] 5-3 in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt [SCOTUSblog materials] that a Texas law [HB2 text] imposing certain requirements on abortion clinics and doctors creates an undue burden on access to abortion, and is therefore unconstitutional [JURIST report]. A collection of Texas abortion providers challenged provisions of HB2 requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital and requiring abortion clinics to conform to state standards for ambulatory surgical centers on the grounds that such requirements violated the Fourteenth Amendment as interpreted by the Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey [text]. The Indiana statute contained a similar “admitting privilege” provision.