Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
The San Francico Chronicle reports on today's action in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Judges grill Arizona lawyer over anti-abortion law:
Two federal appeals court judges expressed skepticism Wednesday about an Arizona law [HB 2800] that disqualified Planned Parenthood and other health providers that perform abortions from receiving public funds for other medical services.
Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judges Marsha Berzon and Jay Bybee grilled attorney Steven Aden during a hearing about the law. Aden, an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom, argued that Arizona had a broad power to determine that Planned Parenthood, and other organizations targeted by the law, were not qualified Medicaid providers, allowing the state to withhold from them Medicaid funds.
According to the Medicaid statute, anybody eligible for medical assistance can get it from an organization or person "qualified to perform the service or services required."
Aden said since the Medicaid statute does not further define "qualified," the state should have broad powers to determine its meaning.
"They have the authority to impose reasonable qualifications," Aden said.
But Bybee and Berzon seemed to take issue with Aden's construction of the state's authority. Bybee said Arizona's interpretation of Medicaid law would open the door to a broad range of restrictions on medical providers.
Alice Clapman, representing Planned Parenthood and one doctor who are the plaintiffs in the original lawsuit, was spared the intense scrutiny faced by Aden. Clapman told the court that the defendants were qualified because they were competent medical providers, meeting the standards of the Medicaid act.
"They have both been providing Medicaid services for decades," she said.
A federal district judge ruled in February that Arizona's legislation violated federal Medicaid law. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Neil Wake prompted an appeal from the state.
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a nearly identical statute. The U.S. Supreme Court recently denied an appeal of that case, leaving the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in place.
Also on Tuesday, The Center for Arizona Policy (CAP) "poison pill" amendment, SB 1069, passed by the House Appropriations Committee on Monday ran into opposition and a House COW vote was delayed. The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports Anti-abortion bill put on hold as lawmaker proposes study committee:
A Paradise Valley Democrat introduced a floor amendment Tuesday that would eradicate an anti-abortion bill.
The House postponed action on SB1069 after Rep. Eric Meyer introduced a proposal to create a study committee that would examine whether abortion clinics are in compliance with state regulations. The amendment would strip away provisions to allow state health inspectors to look over abortion clinics without a search warrant. It would also prohibit Medicaid patients from getting abortions at clinics where they receive other services, and ban abortion providers from using Medicaid funds for abortion services.
Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy, said she is worried the amendment could pass after nine House Republicans bucked party leadership and joined Democrats to beat back hostile amendments to a school bonding bill on Monday.
Looks like Cathi Herrod and her Christian Taliban at the CAP are having a bad week, for a change.