The organization Planned Parenthood has been filing lawsuits across the country in an effort to regain the tens of millions of dollars it has lost from states that have voted to defund the abortion provider.
Out of the thirteen states that have successfully passed resolutions barring public money from going to Planned Parenthood, six have been slapped with lawsuits from the organization.
“We’re in court and in legislatures in almost every state in the country,” Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, admitted. “It has just gotten crazy.”
However, Richards claims that the madness is the fault of politicians rather than the organization.
“This is what I hear from women — Republican women, independent women all over the country: They cannot believe that the Republican Party leadership is on a crusade to end birth-control access in America,” she said.
“Legislators want to enact policies that protect taxpayers from subsidizing the abortion industry,” said Elizabeth Graham, the executive director of Texas Right to Life. “We’re making sure that we’ve found all the money, and we’ll take it away if there’s any left.”
Texas is one of the states that Planned Parenthood is suing in order to regain millions of dollars in funding. The organization contends that the law prohibiting funding is unconstitutional, is against state laws, and places “women’s health” in jeopardy.
“Many of [Planned Parenthood’s] patients will simply go without preventive care altogether, resulting in them being at increased risk of undiagnosed cancer and sexually transmitted infections, unplanned pregnancies and abortion,” the lawsuit claimed, which was filed on behalf of the 49 Planned Parenthood locations in the state.
However, a spokesperson for Governor Rick Perry disagreed.
“Texas is under no obligation to provide taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood,” Catherine Frazier stated. “Texas law has been very clear from day one of this program that abortion providers and their affiliates, like Planned Parenthood, are not qualified providers.”
Planned Parenthood’s latest lawsuit is against the state of Arizona.
“Congress has singled out family planning services for special additional protections to ensure freedom of choice,” the legal challenge claimed. “[A] Medicaid managed care organization or a similar entity shall not restrict the choice of the qualified person from whom the individual may receive services.”
In May of this year, Governor Jan Brewer signed a law prohibiting any Medicaid funding from being used for abortion purposes. While the state already has a law in place barring taxpayer money from being used for abortion, representatives explained that they wanted to ensure that funding would not be provided even in an indirect manner.
“Governor Brewer is confident in the constitutionality of this law and confident it will be upheld by the court,” asserted spokesperson Matthew Benson.
There are 13 Planned Parenthood locations in Arizona.
Other states that have been leveled with a lawsuit following the defunding of the abortion provider include Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina and Tennessee.
As previously reported, North Carolina legislators recently overrode the veto of Governor Beverly Purdue, and sought to outsmart a decision released by U.S. District Court Judge James Beatty, who ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood last year. Beatty had claimed that the state could not single out a specific organization in cutting funding; therefore, the legislation that was passed by lawmakers earlier this month simply prohibited funding from going to “private providers” of family planning services, which would include Planned Parenthood. It is not known whether Planned Parenthood will file a second lawsuit to again challenge the law.
The abortion provider lost $61.7 million in public funding just last year, with millions more this year. The state of New Hampshire alone had a $1.8 million contract with the organization, but canceled it forthrightly. Planned Parenthood did not sue the state because the federal government stepped in to personally sign a contract to make up for the loss of funding.
Other states are currently working to defund Planned Parenthood, including Pennsylvania and Ohio.