Planned Parenthood has filed a lawsuit with the American Civil Liberties Union that alleges Governor Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark) “acted illegally” when he moved to terminate Medicaid contracts with them last month.
“Governor Hutchinson has no business telling women in Arkansas where they can and cannot go for cancer screenings, birth control, HIV tests and other care,” Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement. “Politicians in Arizona and Indiana have tried — and failed — to do the same thing. It’s insulting, it’s outrageous, and it’s exactly why we’re fighting in Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, in Congress, and anywhere there are efforts to block our patients from accessing the care they need.”
Hutchinson initially wanted to cut contracts following the anti-abortion group that secretly recorded videos of Planned Parenthood officials who were offering money for aborted fetal tissue. The illegal exchange ignited suspicions across the organization, according to Medical Daily.
But the videos were found guilty of deceptive editing of the conversations under investigation. The monetary values discussed were found to be going strictly to medical research which is legal.
The Obama administration warned states trying to terminate Medicaid contracts that they could be in conflict with federal law.
“Longstanding Medicaid laws prohibit states from restricting individuals who have coverage through Medicaid from receiving care from a qualified provider,” Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Ben Wakana said. “By restricting which provider a woman could choose to receive care from, women could lose access to critical preventive care, such as cancer screening.”
“There is already an enormous unmet need for health care across Arkansas,” Suzanna de Baca, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, said. “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. By attempting to cancel Planned Parenthood ‘s contract, Governor Hutchinson is blocking women and men from care at Planned Parenthood health center.”
Researchers collected data from 491 countries where Planned Parenthood clinics are located and found that in 103 of the locations, Planned Parenthood is the only center for low-income patients to receive affordable contraceptive services.