Planned Parenthood in Court to Fight for Women’s Access to Health Care
Planned Parenthood and ACLU of Arkansas Ask Court To Block Rule Banning Planned Parenthood From Providing Care to Medicaid Beneficiaries
Little Rock, AR – Today, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and ACLU of Arkansas are in court protecting patients’ access to birth control, lifesaving breast and cervical cancer screenings, and other care through Medicaid. Attorneys representing Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and three patient co-plaintiffs are seeking a preliminary injunction to stop Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson’s illegal efforts to block state Medicaid patients from accessing affordable care at Planned Parenthood of the Heartland health centers.
“We’re in court today because every woman deserves access to safe, quality, compassionate care at a provider she knows and trusts,” said Suzanna de Baca, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. “Already, there are more than 200,000 women in need of affordable family planning care in Arkansas, and Arkansas has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the nation. This is yet another attempt by Governor Hutchinson to roll back women’s rights and restrict access to reproductive health care. Planned Parenthood will continue fighting for our patients, and we are confident the court will rule on the side of Arkansas women.”
“The ACLU is committed to preserving women’s access to safe and legal reproductive care in Arkansas and we are hopeful that the court grants the injunction so the right to provider of choice is not stripped away,” said Rita Sklar, executive director of the ACLU of Arkansas.
To date, two federal Courts of Appeals, the Seventh and Ninth Circuits, have struck down similar requirements, blocking laws enacted in Indiana and Arizona, and the Supreme Court declined to review both of those rulings. CMCS clearly stated in an informational memo dated June 2011: “States are not, however, permitted to exclude providers from the program solely on the basis of the range of medical services they provide.”
If the court does not step in, Planned Parenthood patients who access health care through Arkansas’ Medicaid programs could lose access to their trusted health care provider — and possibly these essential services altogether. Today’s court hearing comes just days after women and men from across the state gathered in Little Rock and delivered a petition with more than 900 signatures calling on Governor Hutchinson to put politics aside and protect women’s access to care at Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood has two health centers in Arkansas, located in Little Rock and Fayetteville. In a single year, Planned Parenthood health centers in Arkansas provide approximately 4,400 patients high-quality reproductive health services including well-woman exams, lifesaving cancer screenings, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, HIV testing and risk reduction counseling, a full range of FDA-approved birth control methods, pregnancy testing and options counseling, and other preventive health services; and a significant proportion of these patients in Arkansas receive this care through Medicaid.
Planned Parenthood of the Heartland (PPHeartland) has served women and men of all ages since the 1930s. Today the agency offers a full range of quality reproductive health care services to residents in Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska and eastern Oklahoma through 18 health centers and Education Resource Centers in Des Moines, Lincoln and Omaha.
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