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July 18, 2012

Ariz. Planned Parenthood sues Legislature

PHOENIX (UPI) -- Planned Parenthood of Arizona filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to block legislation that would bar it from receiving state Medicaid funds.

The complaint, filed Monday, accuses the state Legislature of acting illegally by approving a measure that forbids access to funding provided by the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System to any organization which also provides abortions.

Capital Media Services reported Planned Parenthood's complaint asks Judge Neil Wake to bar implementation of the law, set to go into effect Aug. 2, and to declare it void and unenforceable.

Rep. Justin Olson, R-Ariz., who drafted the law, said it is important to protect the tax dollars of citizens who are anti-abortion. However, Planned Parenthood contends it violates federal Medicaid laws, which allow patients to receive services "from the qualified, willing provider of their choice."

The lawsuit says Planned Parenthood of Arizona has more than 66,000 patient visits a year, about 3,000 of which are eligible to be covered by Medicaid funding. The services provided include Pap smears, breast exams and contraceptives as well as tests and treatments for sexually transmitted diseases. Of their 13 locations throughout the state, five perform abortions.

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