Planned Parenthood Arizona sues state over law on non-abortion funding

Planned Parenthood Arizona filed a lawsuit Monday to try to block enforcement of a new state law that would bar abortion providers from receiving public funding for other health services.

The suit, filed in federal court against state officials, contends the law scheduled to take effect Aug. 2 violates federal law on Medicaid patients' rights and also violates several constitutional rights.

Monica Coury, a spokeswoman for Arizona's Medicaid program, said officials hadn't yet seen the lawsuit and could not immediately comment.

Arizona already bars the use of public money for abortion, but legislative supporters of the new law have said they wanted to make sure the state provides no indirect support for the procedure.

Planned Parenthood said the real impact would be to disrupt care for people who need other services such as cancer screenings.

"It is wrong for the state to tell Arizonans who they can and cannot see for their health care. The men and women of this state have the right to see the health care provider they deem is best for them," said Bryan Howard, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona.

Planned Parenthood Arizona said its 66,000 patient visits annually include nearly 3,000 visits by Medicaid patients. Planned Parenthood Arizona is a care provider for at least one health plan serving the state's Medicaid program.

Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed the Arizona legislation May 4 after the Republican-led Legislature approved it during its 2012 regular session.

Several other states have enacted similar laws. Those include Indiana and Texas, where federal courts have blocked implementation.