Court Decision Comes as Arkansas Considers Most Extreme Bill to Block Women’s Access to Planned Parenthood in the Country
New York — A U.S. District Court judge has issued a permanent injunction that will prevent Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s administration from cutting off 14,000 Tennesseans from HIV and syphilis prevention programs provided by Planned Parenthood.
The final judgment in the Tennessee case comes as Arkansas state legislators are considering the most extreme measure in the country designed to block access to preventive health services at Planned Parenthood’s nonprofit health centers. The Arkansas legislation’s prohibition is so broad that it would prohibit the state from contracting with entities like the power company, the water company, health insurers, or medical suppliers because they also contract with Planned Parenthood or any other health care provider that informs women about all of their pregnancy options, including safe and legal abortion.
Efforts to block access to Planned Parenthood health centers and preventive health services in Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, and North Carolina have also been barred by the courts.
Statement from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund
“This court ruling means politicians will not be allowed to interfere with people’s access to the critical preventive care that Planned Parenthood health centers provide.
“This is a victory for the Tennesseans who count on Planned Parenthood for preventive health services and education and should be a warning to legislators in Arkansas and beyond: cutting public funding for Planned Parenthood’s services will not stand. Politicians have no business dictating where women, men, or teens can go for their health care. They should have access to the providers they trust for lifesaving disease testing and education.”
- In December 2011, Tennessee singled out and refused to approve Planned Parenthood’s contracts for the HIV and syphilis programs in which they had participated for years with positive evaluations. The funds were awarded through a competitive bidding process and then disallowed without any justification just days before they would begin.
- In February 2012, the federal district court issued a preliminary injunction that allowed Planned Parenthood to continue to provide these services, finding that terminating the contracts because of Planned Parenthood’s association with abortion services was likely unconstitutional.
- The new ruling permanently bars Tennessee officials from disqualifying Planned Parenthood from performing this critical STD prevention work, including testing and education.