Planned Parenthood

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The director of the federal Medicaid program has fired a broadside over efforts in Arizona and other state legislatures to block funding for Planned Parenthood.

Vikki Wachino's Tuesday letter to state Medicaid agencies in all 50 states strongly reminded them that they cannot cut funding to otherwise qualified medical providers just because they might also provide abortion services.

Wachino said the "free choice of provider" provision in federal Medicaid law bars such actions.

Lucas Jackson/Reuters

The Arizona Senate has given initial approval to a bill opponents say is designed to make it easier to cut off Medicaid funding from Planned Parenthood Arizona and other abortion providers.

House Bill 2599 passed on a voice vote Tuesday and awaits a formal vote. The House passed the bill last month with only Republicans in support.

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

The Republican-controlled Arizona House has scheduled votes on three bills already passed by the Senate that target abortion or abortion providers.

Senate Bill 1324 bars doctors from prescribing a common abortion drug after seven weeks of pregnancy and requires it to be taken only in FDA-approved doses. Most abortions using RU-486 are now done at much lower doses. Courts blocked a similar 2012 law.

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The Arizona House has passed a bill Planned Parenthood Arizona says is designed to make it easier to cut it off from Medicaid funding.

House Bill 2599 passed Wednesday on a 35-24 party-line vote without discussion with only Republicans in support. It now heads to the Senate.

The bill allows the state to cut off funding and revoke licenses for providers that fail to segregate taxpayer money from funds used to provide abortions. They also could lose funding if they violated medical waste rules or submitted a claim for procedures associated with an abortion.

Arizona lawmakers have advanced three measures targeting abortion providers after hearings in the Arizona Senate.

Republican Sen. Nancy Barto's Senate Bill 1474 also was sent to the full Senate on Wednesday. It makes it illegal for an abortion provider to sell or otherwise transfer a human fetus or embryo for use in research. Planned Parenthood of Arizona says it doesn't have a fetal tissue-donation program.

The number of abortions reported in Arizona is down.

A state report says there were 12,900 reported abortions performed in Arizona in 2014. That's down 3.7 percent from the 13,401 reported abortions performed in 2013 in Arizona.

About three-quarters of the abortions performed in 2014 involved surgical procedures, while the remainder used a medication-induced procedure.

Arizona Abortion Law Kept on Hold by Federal Court

Apr 9, 2014
huffingtonpost.com

The state’s new law restricting medication abortions will remain unenforceable, at least until the middle of next month. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer explains.

womenonwaves.org

Unable to stop new abortion restrictions from taking effect, this week opponents of the laws asked a federal appeals court to now block those rules from being enforced. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.

nydailynews.com

Planned Parenthood has filed suit in federal court to block new restrictions on medical abortions. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.

womenonwaves.org

After two-and-a-half years, Planned Parenthood will again offer medication abortions in Flagstaff. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, the reinstatement comes as the state legislature further restricts abortions in the state.

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