10/19/2012 08:34 pm ET Updated Dec 19, 2012

Arizona Planned Parenthood Victory: Federal Judge Bars State From Restricting Funding To Health Clinics

PHOENIX, Oct 19 (Reuters) - A federal judge blocked Arizona on Friday from applying a new law that bars Planned Parenthood's health clinics from receiving money through the state because the organization also performs abortions.

U.S. District Court Judge Neil Wake granted the temporary injunction to Planned Parenthood, which had sued Arizona to block the law signed by Republican Governor Jan Brewer in May but whose implementation has been on hold.

"It's not the result we would have hoped, but it's not a ruling on the merits," Arizona Solicitor General David Cole told Reuters after the ruling, noting that a hearing on the merits of the case would take place early next month. Planned Parenthood officials in Arizona did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The organization says abortions account for only 3 percent of its services, which include cancer screening and birth control.

In the past two years, more than a dozen states have taken steps to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, and the organization has filed lawsuits in at least six of them, including Arizona.

Arizona does not provide tax dollars for abortion, but backers said the law was needed to make sure that no indirect money was funneled to organizations like Planned Parenthood that provide abortion and other health services. (Reporting by Tim Gaynor; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)



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