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Another victory Monday in the battle over funding for Planned Parenthood brought cheers from the organization and its backers. The Supreme Court chose not to review a district court ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Betlach upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The decision means a permanent end to a 2012 Arizona law that sought to prevent women covered by the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) and other state-assisted healthcare programs from using organizations or physicians that provide abortions to obtain birth control, cancer screening, treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and the like. The district and appeals courts ruled that the state law violated the federal Medicaid Act, which protects women's healthcare decisions. As is customary, the Supreme Court made no comment about why it chose not to review the case.

Jim Nintzel at the Tucson Weekly writes about the ultimate defeat of the Orwellian-named Whole Woman’s Healthcare Funding Prioritization Act:

Planned Parenthood Arizona President and CEO Bryan Howard called the Supreme Court's decision "a victory for Arizona women and their families."

“The men and women of this state have the right to see the health care provider they deem is best for them," Howard said in a prepared statement. "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."

Federal law forbids states from discriminating against qualified providers of such services. The Arizona law disqualified Planned Parenthood on the grounds that its services include abortion.

Eight federal courts have now ruled in the past three years that states cannot exclude organizations from providing preventive healthcare services to women. The Supreme Court declined to take up another of those rulings—in Indiana—last May. Of Monday's decision:

“Let this be a lesson to politicians across the country: These dangerous and unconstitutional laws won’t be tolerated by the courts or the voters,” Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said in a statement. “Over and over again, courts have clearly said that states can’t block people from getting preventive health care at Planned Parenthood.”
There was recently another defeat for Arizona's forced-birthers. As of last week, Planned Parenthood is again providing medication abortions at its facility in Flagstaff. Because of a 2011 state law, nurse practitioners were excluded from providing medication abortions. Only physicians could do so. Consequently, Planned Parenthood stopped providing the abortions at several of its locations, forcing northern Arizona women seeking abortions to make what for some was a long trip to Phoenix or Tucson.  

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 02:07 PM PST.

Also republished by Baja Arizona Kossacks and Daily Kos.

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