Good news from Arizona (shocking, we know): a federal judge overturned a law that tried to block state funding for Planned Parenthood clinics because a (/too) few of their clinics provide abortions in addition to other crucial health services. We shouldn't have to profusely thank a judge for making a just decision, but: THANK YOU SO MUCH.
"The Arizona Act violates the freedom of choice provision of the Medicaid Act precisely because every Medicaid beneficiary has the right to select any qualified health care provider," U.S. District Court Judge Neil Wake ruled in a decision released on Friday. (THANK YOU!)
Anti-abortion advocates said that the law was necessary to make sure the state wasn't providing tax dollars for abortion (which is illegal under the Hyde Amendment, something backers love to fake-forget) via indirect funneling of funds. In other words, they were trying to cut countless low-income women off from the services they desperately need by pretending that Planned Parenthood operates somewhat like the Mafia. Also, not that it should matter, but only 3 percent of the state's Planned Parenthood clinics offer abortion services. Facts! Who needs 'em?
Bryan Howard, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood Arizona, told Reuters that the decision was "a victory for all Arizonans" and women who count on their services.
"Politics should never interfere with a woman's breast exam or birth control," Howard said in a statement. "It is wrong for the state to tell Arizonans who can be their health care provider ... Our health centers are open today and they will be open tomorrow."
This is also a huge victory on a national level, since Arizona is hardly the only state where lawmakers have tried to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood; the organization is currently fighting the hard fight in Texas. Hopefully more judges will follow Wake's example.