A federal judge has blocked an Arizona law that would have barred Planned Parenthood clinics from receiving state money to provide medical care because the women’s health clinic also offers abortions.
District Court Judge Neil Wake issued the temporary injunction after Planned Parenthood sued the state over the new law, which would cut off Medicaid funding for the clinic, along with any other organization that offers abortions, reports Reuters.
The measure was signed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer in May as part of a national campaign against Planned Parenthood that was backed by conservative Republican lawmakers who oppose abortion.
Planned Parenthood sued over the law, saying that it is not right for the state to tell citizens where they can and cannot go for health care, even if that organization also provides abortions.
Judge Wake added that the organization will likely succeed in their case against the state.
Arizona Solicitor General David Cole agreed, saying that the ruling “did not come as a shock.” Cole added:
“It’s not the result we would have hoped, but it’s not a ruling on the merits.”
While Arizona already bars any public funding to be used for most abortions, Fox News notes that the law signed in May went farther by not allowing public funding, including Medicaid, to go towards any organization that also offers abortions, even if the funding goes to general care.
The Arizona law is one of at least three laws of its kind in different states that are currently locked in court battles, including those in Texas and Indiana. Supporters of the law say that it simply ensures that no public funding goes toward abortions.
But Judge Wake countered those claims, saying that Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood Arizona only pay for about half the cost of services provided, meaning that, “there is no excess funding that could be used to subsidize abortions.”
The federal judge added that it was in the public’s best interest to block the measure, because if it went into law, about 3,000 patients would be denied the opportunity for basic health care from a provider of their choice.