KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Federal Judge Blocks Ariz. Law Stopping State Money For Planned Parenthood

A federal judge in Arizona has issued an injunction barring Arizona from enforcing a law that halts state money from flowing to Planned Parenthood, saying the women's health provider's challenge will likely succeed on a "freedom-of-choice" provision in Medicaid.

Reuters: Judge Blocks Arizona Law That Bars Funding To Planned Parenthood
A federal judge blocked Arizona on Friday from applying a new law that bars Planned Parenthood clinics from receiving money through the state to provide medical care because the women's health organization also performs abortions. District Court Judge Neil Wake issued a temporary injunction after Planned Parenthood sued over the law, which would have cut off Medicaid funding for family planning and health services delivered by organizations offering abortions. Medicaid is a joint federal-state program that provides health care coverage for low-income people (Gaynor, 10/20).

The Associated Press: Federal Judge Orders Arizona Not To Block Money For Planned Parenthood
A federal judge on Friday dealt a setback to abortion opponents by prohibiting Arizona from halting public funding that the state indirectly provides Planned Parenthood for general health care services that don't include abortion. The preliminary injunction by U.S. District Judge Neil Wake bars the state from applying a new state anti-abortion law to Planned Parenthood Arizona and a physician with his own practice (10/19).

Bloomberg: Arizona Ban On Medicaid For Elective Abortions Blocked
An Arizona law prohibiting Medicaid funding for providers of elective abortions was temporarily blocked by a federal judge until a lawsuit over the law's legality has been resolved. U.S. District Judge Neil Wake in Phoenix yesterday granted a request by Planned Parenthood Arizona for a preliminary injunction. Planned Parenthood is likely to succeed on the merits of their claim that the Arizona law violates the freedom- of-choice provision of the federal law governing the Medicaid program, the judge said (Pettersson, 10/20).

In the meantime, a new study says that abortions are increasingly difficult to obtain as 41 states have passed strict limits on the procedure in the last two years --

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Abortion May Be Legal, But Very Difficult In Many States, In Past 2 Years, 41 Set New Limits
It's legal to get an abortion in America, but in many places it is hard and getting harder. Just this year, 17 states set new limits on abortion; 24 did last year, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion rights nonprofit whose numbers are widely respected. In several states with the most restrictive laws, the number of abortions has fallen slightly, pleasing abortion opponents who say the laws are working (10/20).

And in Kansas City, a rally speaking out against the health law's birth control coverage mandate drew 150 people --

Kansas City Star: Rally Protests Birth Control Mandate In Health Care Law
About 150 people, carrying signs and banners touting religious freedom, gathered Saturday for a rally in downtown Kansas City, Kan. Speaker after speaker -- 13 in all -- railed against federal mandates that will require birth control to be covered in health insurance plans. The rally, one of several held around the country by a national group called Stand Up For Religious Freedom, urged those attending to vote against President Barack Obama, who championed health care reform. The law makes no exception for Catholic institutions that say coverage of contraception for employees goes against their beliefs (Williams, 10/20).

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