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Abortion Foes Revive Push To Block Medicaid Funding For All Planned Parenthood Services

Abortion foes at the Legislature are throwing up new roadblocks to Planned Parenthood being able to provide any services at all through Arizona's Medicaid program.

State and federal law both block the use of tax dollars for elective abortions. But four years ago lawmakers barred Planned Parenthood from providing family planning services to Medicaid recipients solely because it also performs some abortions. The argument was that the tax dollars might indirectly subsidize abortions. Federal courts struck that down.

So now Rep. Justin Olson, R-Mesa, has a new plan: Planned Parenthood cannot get Medicaid dollars unless it can show there is no cross-subsidization. He said it protects taxpayers.

"The overwhelming majority of voters agree that tax dollars should not fund abortion. There's no guarantee that that's not occurring right now," Olson argued. "What this bill does is it creates a requirement that a provider of abortions segregate those dollars so the taxpayers have some certainty that their funds are not being used to fund an abortion."

Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Jodi Liggett said this measure suffers from the same legal flaws that overturned Olson's 2012 law. In that case the court of appeals said Medicaid recipients can get their services from any qualified provider. And the judges said there is no evidence that Planned Parenthood is not qualified to provide family planning services.

"We'll see 'em in court. That's our option at this point," said Liggett.

The measure now goes to the Senate.