A judge has tossed Arizona’s Planned Parenthood funding ban, saying that it unlawfully robs people on Medicaid from choosing their health care services.
The measure was signed into law by the state’s Governor Jan Brewer last May. It barred state funding for any clinic that also performs abortions.
But Reuters reports that District Court Judge Neil Wake ruled in a decision released on Friday:
“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.”
Wake initially put the measure on hold in October when Planned Parenthood sued the state, blocking it from removing Medicaid funding from family planning and health services by the organization and others that perform abortions.
The San Francisco Chronicle notes that Wake also wrote in the ruling:
“A state may not restrict a beneficiary’s right to select any qualified provider for reasons wholly unrelated to the provider’s ability to deliver Medicaid services.”
Wake’s ruling also granted a request for a pretrial verdict in favor of Planned Parenthood, as well as a physician with his own practice.
Supporters of the law argued that it would make sure no public money was used for abortions. Attorneys for the state also argued that Arizona is allowed to decide the qualifications for health care providers.
But Wake noted his ruling mirrored that of the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals. The court ruled that a nearly identical Indiana law violated the Medicaid law. He added that Arizona’s Planned Parenthood funding ban also exceeded the state’s authority and was a “strained interpretation” of the federal law.