Planned Parenthood files lawsuit against Arkansas

Planned Parenthood files lawsuit against Arkansas
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Planned Parenthood is suing a third state over attempts to defund the organization this summer.

The group filed a lawsuit with the American Civil Liberties Union on Friday alleging that Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) acted illegally when he announced last month that he would block all state Medicaid dollars to Planned Parenthood patients.

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“Governor Hutchinson has no business telling women in Arkansas where they can and cannot go for cancer screenings, birth control, HIV tests and other care,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood.

“It’s insulting, it’s outrageous, and it’s exactly why we’re fighting in Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, in Congress, and anywhere there are efforts to block our patients from accessing the care they need," she added.

The Obama administration has already said the move is illegal, issuing a warning to both Alabama and Louisiana that Medicaid enrollees are entitled to the healthcare provider of their choice. Both were notified that they “may be in conflict with federal law," a spokesman said.

But presidential candidate and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R), have already pledged to stand their ground and allow the battle to play out in court — potentially dragging out the controversy for months.

Meanwhile, the funding battle in Congress over Planned Parenthood is continuing to gain steam as the threat of a government shutdown looms. A group of more than 40 Republicans have pledged to oppose any government spending bill that includes federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Lawmakers have until Oct. 1 to pass a spending bill to avert a shutdown.