KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Ariz. Governor Signs Bill Banning Public Funding Of Planned Parenthood

Supporters of the Arizona bill said the law was needed to keep money from indirectly funding abortions. In the Texas case, the panel of federal appeals judges said Texas must continue funding Planned Parenthood until a lower court decides the case.

Los Angeles Times: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer Bans Public Funding Of Planned Parenthood
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has put an end to tax dollars going to Planned Parenthood by signing a bill that she says closes loopholes for funding abortions. The bill, known as the "Whole Woman's Health Funding Priority Act," tightens existing state regulations and prevents any government entity -- city, county or state -- from giving money to an organization that offers family planning that may indirectly fund abortions (Castellanos, 5/5).

The Associated Press: Arizona Gov. Signs Planned Parenthood Funding Ban
Gov. Jan Brewer on Friday signed into law a bill to cut off Planned Parenthood's access to taxpayer money funneled through the state for non-abortion services. Arizona already bars use of public money for abortions except to save the life of the mother. But anti-abortion legislators and other supporters of the bill say the broader prohibition is needed to ensure no public money indirectly supports abortion services (5/4).

Arizona Republic: Arizona Abortion-Services Bill Signed Into Law
Planned Parenthood officials said the bill essentially would no longer allow them or other groups that also provide abortions to seek reimbursement from the state for non-abortion services provided to residents enrolled in the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state's Medicaid program. However, a spokeswoman for AHCCCS told The Republic late last month it is doubtful the bill would affect its services because the program sends public dollars to private providers, who can choose which partners to work with. The spokeswoman said the agency is still analyzing the bill's potential effects (Sanchez, 5/4).

Reuters: Arizona Bans Funding To Planned Parenthood In Abortion Fight
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on Friday signed into law a bill banning abortion providers like Planned Parenthood from receiving money through the state, her office said in a statement. The Republican-backed Whole Woman's Health Funding Priority Act cuts off funding for family planning and health services delivered by Planned Parenthood clinics and other organizations offering abortions (Schwartz, 5/5).

Meanwhile, in the latest twist in a Texas fight over public funding for Planned Parenthood, a federal appeals court ruled Friday that the state can't exclude the program from a public Women's Health Program while a lawsuit is being litigated.

Reuters: Planned Parenthood Can Be In Texas Health Program, Court Says
Planned Parenthood can participate for now in a Texas health program for low-income women despite a new state rule that bans affiliates of abortion providers, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Friday. The court order from the 5th U.S. Circuit -- which lifts an emergency halt that was put in place on earlier this week -- is the latest in a series of alternating victories for Planned Parenthood and Texas. But the court battle is not over (MacLaggan, 5/4).

The Texas Tribune: Court: Texas Must Include Planned Parenthood in WHP
Gov. Rick Perry's communication staff indicated he is ready to continue fighting Planned Parenthood in court. Here's their statement: "Today's developments do not change our concerted effort in coordination with Attorney General Abbott to defend the will of Texans and our state law, which prohibits taxpayer funds from supporting abortion providers and affiliates in the Women’s Health Program. We are confident in the attorney general's appeal and will continue to pursue all available legal options in this effort" (Tan, 5/4).

Los Angeles Times: Federal Judges Lift Texas Stay On Planned Parenthood Funding
A panel of federal appeals court judges ruled Friday that Texas cannot ban Planned Parenthood from receiving state funds while a federal lawsuit over funding is pending. The lawsuit, filed last month, concerns a law Texas legislators passed last year that would have eliminated funding to 49 Planned Parenthood clinics Tuesday. On Monday, before that could happen, a federal judge in Austin granted an injunction barring the state from enforcing the law until the federal case is resolved. Within 24 hours, the state had appealed and a federal appeals court judge had stayed the injunction (Hennessy-Fiske, 5/4).

The Associated Press: Judge: Texas Can't Cut Funds To Planned Parenthood
A federal appeals court ruled Friday that Texas cannot ban Planned Parenthood from receiving state funds, at least until a lower court has a chance to hear formal arguments. A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed Friday with a lower court that there's sufficient evidence the state's law preventing Planned Parenthood from participating in the Women's Health Program is unconstitutional. The program provides basic health care and contraception to 130,000 poor women (Tomlinson, 5/4).

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