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Planned Parenthood on Monday sued the state of Arizona in hopes of blocking a law set to take effect early next month that would cut off funding to its health clinics because the organization also performs abortions, Reuters reports.
The law, signed by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer in May, is the latest chapter in a national effort by conservative lawmakers to cripple the organization for providing abortions. So far, 13 states have cut funding to Planned Parenthood.
Lawyers for Planned Parenthood challenge the legislation on the grounds that it is illegal to penalize the organization for providing a constitutionally protected procedure, and because it blocks women from accessing preventative health care. The real impact of the law will be in compromising the other health services it provides, Planned Parenthood says, including birth control and cancer screening. Abortions comprise just 3 percent of the organization’s activities.
Even before the new bill was signed, Arizona had laws in place barring public money from supporting the procedure. The new law, supporters argue, ensures the state provides no indirect funds towards abortion, according to the Associated Press.
Planned Parenthood Arizona treats some 66,000 patients annually, about 3,000 of whom are on Medicaid. This is the sixth lawsuit the organization has filed against states for cutting funding; it has already won in Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. "We’re in court and in legislatures in almost every state in the country," said Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. "It has just gotten crazy."