A federal judge will hear arguments Friday about whether the state can legally cut Planned Parenthood out of a program to provide family planning services.
Arizona law already precludes public funds for abortions. But earlier this year lawmakers voted to prohibit any family planning dollars from going to any organization that also PERFORMS abortions. Planned Parenthood sued. But state Solicitor General David Cole said lawmakers are entitled to make that call based on the argument that state dollars for family planning can free up other Planned Parenthood funds for abortions.
"The voters of this state have spoken and they don't want this money spent on abortions," Cole said. "And it's our view that it is an easy fix by them. And if it's a question of us surrendering our sovereignty versus them making what we consider being a pretty easy fix, we think they ought to make the easy fix."
That easy fix is Cole's suggestion that Planned Parenthood split into entities, one that does family planning and one that does abortions, to ensure there is no cross subsidization. But Planned Parenthood President Bryan Howard rejected that option.
"To separate services into multiple institutions would reduce the continuity of care," Howard said. "All women's health care should be available under one roof."
And Howard said he's sure that even if Planned Parenthood complied, lawmakers who do not like what his organization does would find another excuse to try to cut funding.