For anyone who is interested, here is a link to Judge James A. Beaty Jr.’s official 35-page ruling on Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina’s injunction against the state budget.
Five states defunded Planned Parenthood during the 2011 legislative session. North Carolina, Indiana, and Kansas have since been sued by the affiliates in those states, and the affiliates have received injunctions. All three federal judges have questioned the constitutionality of singling out Planned Parenthood for providing abortion services at some of its clinics, especially since already no tax-payer money is used for abortion services. This is certainly hopeful news for those of us who support Planned Parenthood, abortion rights, and the preventative healthcare services Planned Parenthood provides.
At the same time, in Arizona, Planned Parenthood will be forced to stop providing abortion in 7 clinics due to new abortion restriction laws. Recently, the Court of Appeals overturned 2009 restrictions that make it so that a patient seeking abortion must meet with the abortion provider twice before the abortion can occur, and bars specially trained nurse practitioners from first-trimester surgical abortions or oral medical abortions. As the study from the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology stated, there are very few physicians willing to perform abortion. Even fewer willing or capable of traveling to the rural areas these clinics are located in. Planned Parenthood, thus, has little option but to end abortion services at those clinics until physicians can be found. Unsurprisingly, these restrictions are also not medically valid; the Arizona Board of Nursing has already stated that medical and surgical abortions performed by properly trained nurses are just as safe as those performed by doctors. Making a patient attend two appointments is akin to a waiting period and is just another delay tactic to force patients to stay pregnant.
Planned Parenthood of Arizona is waiting to see what consequences will happen so they can build a more concrete case against the state. I wish them luck and hope they will be able to make an irrefutable case against this violation of civil liberties. Women in all of these states deserve to have their right to choice as accessible and available as possible. Perhaps the end of 2011 will be better than the start.