Planned Parenthood Arizona has sued Arizona Monday regarding a law signed in by Governor Jane Brewer last May which prevents abortion providers from receiving public funding. Arizona already bars the public funds from supporting abortion, but the new law wants to bar indirect support. Planned Parenthood insists that it provides cancer screening and other forms of birth control, and that abortions account for only about 3 percent of their services (12 percent of their patients receive abortions), but they are still the largest provider of such services in the States, and about half their funding comes from the government.
This dispute is merely one instance of a nationwide campaign pitting conservative Republican lawmakers against Planned Parenthood; 13 states have legislated an elimination of public funding.
“Legislators want to enact policies that protect taxpayers from subsidizing the abortion industry,” said Elizabeth Graham, who is director of Texas Right to Life. “They’ve sent a clear message to Planned Parenthood or any other agency that provides abortion: Stop doing abortion, and you can have all the health-care dollars you want.”
Planner Parenthood, however, believes that it has a constitutional right to its funding as federal Medicaid Law gives patients their choice of health care providers.
For a long time, politicians were wary of attacking Planned Parenting. “No one wanted to be perceived as being against family planning,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, a Washington, D.C., group which advocates for the election of anti-abortion candidates. “Any effort to defund [Planned Parenthood] was doomed to fail.”
Lawmakers are nevertheless gaining more confidence as Republicans have begun the attack. Planned Parenthood has also been attacking back. It has announced its endorsement of Obama and pledged $1.4 million for an anti-Romney ad campaign.
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has pledged to “get rid” of Planned Parenthood, though this initiative is being kept low-key as it is estimated to cost him support among white women, a demographic he plans on working to secure.