Planned Parenthood sues Alabama over end to Medicaid funds

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Planned Parenthood Southeast on Friday filed a federal lawsuit over Gov. Robert Bentley's effort to cut off Medicaid payments to the organization's Alabama clinics.

The organization said Bentley's effort penalizes low-income women who seek contraceptive and preventative health care services at the clinics. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Montgomery. It accuses Bentley of violating a federal law that they said requires Medicaid patients to have their choice of provider to receive family planning care.

"We're in court today because each and every patient, and her ability to make her own deeply personal and private health care decisions, matters," said Staci Fox, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast.

Bentley's press office did not have an immediate response to the lawsuit.

Bentley earlier this month announced he was moving to terminate Medicaid provider agreements with Planned Parenthood. The governor cited now famous hidden-camera videos that accuse the organization of selling fetal organs for profit after abortions.

"The deplorable practices at Planned Parenthood have been exposed to Americans, and I have decided to stop any association with the organization in Alabama," Bentley said. Planned Parenthood has denied the allegations and says the videos, shot by abortion opponents, are edited to be misleading.

Planned Parenthood said in a statement that it will ask a judge next week for a preliminary injunction to block the action by Bentley.

Planned Parenthood has a similar lawsuit against Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. Jindal also sought to cut off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood operates two clinics in Alabama.

Alabama Medicaid Agency records show that the state has paid Planned Parenthood Southeast less than $5,000 over the last two years. The payments were for contraceptives.

Medicaid does not pay for abortions except for under rare circumstances.

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