(Photo: Reuters/Jim Young)
Taxpayers should not be forced to give money to abortion practices, the Alliance Defending Freedom argues while urging the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate an Arizona law that limits funds for abortion.
"Taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize the work of abortionists. Arizona should be free to enforce its public policy against the taxpayer funding of abortion and in favor of the best health care for women," ADF Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden, who argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in June, said on Wednesday.
In August, the 9th Circuit ruled that House Bill 2800, which limits allocation of public funds for elective abortion, violated federal law and held that individual plaintiffs can privately enforce the choice criterion provision – which under the Medicaid "contract" requires states to allow Medicaid beneficiaries to obtain medical assistance from any provider "qualified to perform the service or services required."
ADF argues that the court provided a "misplaced definition" of "qualified" physicians in the "choice criterion" provision of the law to mean that states may not exclude any physicians who simply have "professional competence."
"If 'qualification' is a matter of licensure and competence, then the choice criterion serves no purpose because Arizona's existing licensure and oversight provisions already limit a Medicaid recipient's choice to 'qualified' providers …. Review by this Court is necessary because the Ninth Circuit's interpretation, now embraced by two federal circuit courts, strips the States of their prerogative to rationally administer their respective state Medicaid programs as they see fit," ADF's petition to the Supreme Court reads.
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, who appointed Aden as a special assistant attorney general, has argued in favor of reinstating House Bill 2800, which states that no state or local governmental entity shall "enter into a contract with or make a grant to any person that performs nonfederally qualified abortions or maintains or operates a facility where nonfederally qualified abortions are performed for the provision of family planning services.
Planned Parenthood of Arizona has fought against the abortion law, arguing that the litigation has already cost the state a great deal of money.
"This litigation has already cost the state of Arizona approximately $279,000 in legal fees alone, which is what it would cost for Arizona to provide clinical breast exams or cervical-cancer screenings to thousands of AHCCCS patients. It will cost the state even more to litigate its petition to the Supreme Court," said PP President and CEO Bryan Howard.
AZ Central noted that there is no guarantee that the Supreme Court will decide to hear the case, as historically speaking the higher court usually takes on cases where lower courts have issued conflicting opinions.