Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey Signs Bill to Defund Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 18, 2016   |   6:12PM   |   Washington, DC

Last week, pro-life Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey approved a state budget that is sure to displease the nation’s biggest abortion business. As Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod explains to it will cut Planned Parenthood funding $200,000.

Now, Ducey signed legislation Tuesday that s designed to make it easier to cut off abortion companies from Medicaid funding. The pro-life law Ducey signed Tuesday allows the state to cut off Medicaid funding to abortion corporations that fail to segregate taxpayer money from funds used to do abortions. They also could lose funding if they violate medical waste rules, submit a claim for abortion-related procedures, or fail to follow mandatory reporting laws on sexual assault.

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But the measure most significantly allows AHCCCS at its “sole discretion” to disqualify any entity that did not fully segregate the tax dollars it is getting to ensure none of those went to providing elective abortions. And that even includes accounting for all overhead expenses like rent, lights and heat. The new law is the latest effort to defund Planned Parenthood. Both state and federal laws already bar use of public funds for abortions that are not publicly necessary.

But Arizona, as part of its participation in the federal Medicaid program, provides family planning services for needy women. The federal government pays 90 percent, with the state picking up the balance. Medicaid statutes and regulations also permit eligible women to choose from any qualified provider, which has included Planned Parenthood.

In 2012, however, legislators amended the law to say any organization that provides abortions cannot be a “qualified provider.” Rep. Justin Olson, R-Mesa, said any money the government gives Planned Parenthood to pay for other expenses frees up funds for abortions.

Christina Corieri, the governor’s health policy adviser, said this measure is legally distinguishable in that it does not bar Planned Parenthood from providing family planning services solely because it also does abortions. More to the point, she said it’s justified.

“It has been longstanding policy that taxpayer funds cannot be used for abortions,” she said. Corieri said this simply ensures that policy — and the legal restrictions around public dollars — remains in place.

Corieri said there’s another difference. The 2012 law permanently barred abortion providers from participating in AHCCCS. The new law simply allows the agency to suspend any organization that does not adequately segregate its expenditures, meaning there’s an ability to once again become part of the Medicaid program.

Still, the Planned Parenthood abortion business threatened to sue the state to keep its tax dollars intact.