U.S. District Court Judge Temporarily Blocks New Arizona Funding Law
By Dave Andrusko
U.S. District Court Judge Neil Wake has temporarily blocked Arizona from implementing a new law that bars the state from contracting with or making a grant to any entity that performs an abortion or maintains an abortion facility.
The two-page order was actually signed July 27 and is in effect until he makes a final decision on a preliminary injunction being sought by Planned Parenthood. Judge Wake gave no explanation for the decision. The measure, HB 2800, was signed into law in May by Gov. Jan Brewer and scheduled to take effect Thursday.
The decision comes one day after U.S. District Judge James A. Teilborg refused to enjoin a different Arizona abortion law which generally prohibits abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy (18 weeks fetal age), based in part on medical evidence that the unborn can feel pain by that point, if not earlier. (See www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/news/2012/07/judge-refuses-to-enjoin-arizonas-new-abortion-law-on-basis-of-unborn-pain.)
Brewer described Arizona’s ”Whole Woman’s Health Funding Priority Act” (HB 2800) as a measure that “closes loopholes in order to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to fund abortions, whether directly or indirectly.” The law provides that neither the state nor any political subdivision of the state “may . . . enter into a contract with or make a grant to” abortion providers for family-planning services. Further, “subject to any applicable requirements of federal law, regulations or guidelines,” the law establishes a priority system for entities that may receive family-planning funding.
Judge Wake wrote that “qualified providers of Medicaid services may continue to perform otherwise legal abortions without being disqualified from getting reimbursement for medical services that are covered by Medicaid, until such time as the Court issues a ruling” on Planned Parenthood’s application for a preliminary injunction.
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