Circuit Court Strikes Down Arizona Anti-abortion Bill
An Arizona bill intended to strip Medicaid funding from doctors and clinics that provide abortions was defeated in court last week.
House Bill 2800 was passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Jan Brewer in 2012, but Planned Parenthood challenged it before it could be enforced. The bill would have prevented low-income Medicaid recipients from receiving coverage for family planning services, annual exams, and cancer screenings from clinics that also provide abortions.
The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday that the bill violates a federal Medicaid Act requirement that gives patients the freedom to choose their healthcare providers. Anti-choice leaders can either appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court or reintroduce the legislation at the state level in 2014.
"This is a victory for the thousands of low-income women who rely on Planned Parenthood for breast and cervical- cancer screenings, birth control and other basic health care," Planned Parenthood Arizona President and CEO Bryan Howard said in a statement.
In May, the same court overturned a 2012 state law that banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. This past legislative session was the first in more than a decade in which lawmakers failed to pass an abortion-related measure.
Media Resources: Los Angeles Times 8/22/2013; AZ Central 8/22/2013;
11/20/2014 Federal Appeals Court Rejects Priests for Life Challenge to Birth Control Coverage Rule - In a victory for women's health, a unanimous panel of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit on Friday rejected a challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraceptive coverage benefit brought by Priests for Life, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington and other religiously affiliated non-profit organizations.
Judge Nina Pillard, a former law professor who was nominated to the DC Circuit by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate in December, wrote the opinion for the Court, which found that the ACA birth control benefit did not substantially burden or violate non-profits' religious freedom.
Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies must cover the full cost of all FDA-approved contraceptives - including the pill, IUDs, and emergency contraception - without requiring co-pays or cost-sharing. . . .