LITTLE ROCK — Planned Parenthood on Monday asked a federal judge to grant class-action status to its lawsuit seeking to block the state from cutting off Medicaid reimbursements to the organization.

LITTLE ROCK — Planned Parenthood on Monday asked a federal judge to grant class-action status to its lawsuit seeking to block the state from cutting off Medicaid reimbursements to the organization.


Also Monday, the state filed notice that it will appeal the judge’s order barring the state from denying Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood for certain clients while the suit is pending.


U.S. District Judge Kristene Baker on Friday issued a preliminary injunction requiring the state to continue providing Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood of the Heartland to cover services for three female patients. The nonprofit health-care provider and the patients sued the state after Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in August he was terminating Arkansas’ contract with Planned Parenthood, effective Sept. 13.


Baker initially issued a temporary restraining order to keep the contract in place for two weeks before following up with the preliminary injunction affecting only the three patients.


Planned Parenthood filed a motion Monday to convert the suit to a class-action suit, with the class constituting Medicaid patients who obtain or will obtain services from Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.


"To ensure that all PPH’s Medicaid patients can continue to receive health care services at PPH, plaintiffs seek to convert this case to a class action," the organization said in the motion.


Hutchinson said Friday he would direct the state Department of Human Services to prohibit funding to Planned Parenthood for all services except those provided to the three plaintiffs, identified in the suit as Jane Does Nos. 1-3. On Tuesday, the attorney general’s office notified the judge it will appeal the preliminary injunction.


The Hutchinson administration says undercover videos released by an anti-abortion group suggest that Planned Parenthood facilities in other states may have illegally sold human fetal tissue from abortions to researchers for profit and altered abortion procedures to obtain tissue suitable for donation. The videos also have prompted calls by Republicans in Congress to defund Planned Parenthood.


Planned Parenthood has said the videos are deceptively edited, that it does not sell human tissue for profit and that its centers in Arkansas do not provide tissue to researchers or perform surgical abortions that would yield tissue for donation.


Baker said in her order Friday the plaintiffs would suffer irreparable harm if she did not issue the injunction.