U.S. District Judge Kristine G. Baker today granted Planned Parenthood of the Heartland class certification in the lawsuit filed to stop enforcement of Gov. Asa Hutchinson‘s effort — in violation of federal law — to bar Planned Parenthood from being a Medicaid provider. Technically Hutchinson’s move could lead to a standoff with the feds, who could withhold all Medicaid funding. In practice, there is a good chance that Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit will put a stop to Hutchinson’s grandstanding before it gets to that point. The group moved one step closer today with the certification of a class of Medicaid patients for a class action lawsuit. Here’s a statement from Suzanna de Baca, president & CEO, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland regarding today’s decision:

We’re pleased that in granting the request for class certification today, the Court has brought Plaintiffs one step closer to being able to protect the rights of the thousands of Arkansans who are still affected by Governor Hutchinson’s illegal efforts to block Medicaid patients from accessing health care at Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, together with the three Jane Doe Plaintiffs, will continue to do everything we can to uphold patients’ right to the safe, quality, compassionate services we provide — starting by asking the Court to extend the preliminary injunction to all of the women and men who depend on Planned Parenthood for care.

The judge has already enjoined the state from stopping services to plaintiffs in the suit; today’s ruling allows Planned Parenthood to make a motion to expand the preliminary injunction to cover all of Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid patients in the state.