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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Bills seek to limit abortions

The approval of two Arizona bills will place limitations on abortion availability and prohibit funding to programs.

With a vote of 40-18, House Bills 2384 and 2416 both passed the House, according to the Arizona State Legislature.

“”The anti-choice legislators in our legislature have pretty much launched the most shocking attack on women’s health that I’ve ever seen,”” said Michelle Steinberg, a public policy manager and lobbyist for Planned Parenthood.

H.B. 2416 would prohibit outlying areas in Arizona, such as Prescott, Flagstaff and Yuma, from distributing abortion pills, Steinberg said. In order to dispense abortion pills, the health centers have to be set up as surgery facilities, like those in Phoenix and Tucson.

“”If you restrict availability to only Phoenix and Tucson, you’re creating a huge, huge burden for women who live outside those communities,”” she said.

Women living in rural communities will be losing a significant amount of care due to this limited availability, Steinberg said.

Women will then have travel costs and be forced to delay their abortion procedure, Steinberg added. Prolonging abortion could result in women needing to have surgery. This is dangerous because it puts women at potential risk for even more invasive procedures, she said.

“”If you’re eligible for an early, early abortion and you delay your care, and you end up having surgery, that’s a direct result of this bill,”” Steinberg said.

In addition, H.B. 2416 also requires health centers to perform an ultrasound one hour before the abortion procedure, she said. At that time, the patient would listen to audible body sounds. Before the House approved the bill, Planned Parenthood had already been performing ultrasounds as standard procedure, but did not have patients wait an hour. There is no medical reason for a patient to have to sit and think about their decision, she said.

“”They want women to change their minds,”” Steinberg said.

Arizona state legislators such as Republican Rep. Kimberly Yee, from District 10, support the two bills. Yee has said in the past that H.B. 2416 is about protecting health safety for women and the one-hour requirement gives them the opportunity to make more educated decisions.

Calls to Republican legislators were not returned as of press time.

The second bill, H.B. 2384, prohibits public funding and the use of federal tax money for organizations that do abortion referrals and provide abortion coverage in their health insurance, Steinberg said.

“”The law prohibits any public dollars or public funds as being directed toward training,”” said Democratic Rep. Matt Heinz, from District 29 of the Arizona State Legislature.

Steinberg said that H.B. 2384 “”works to make sure that Planned Parenthood gets absolutely no public money.”” There is a state tax credit that offers donations to the working poor. However, Planned Parenthood is disqualified from participating in the program, she said. The bill sets up barriers for people who want to donate money to this health facility.

“”By disqualifying Planned Parenthood, you’re really just taking money away from women who are receiving valuable life-saving care,”” she said.

Supporters of H.B. 2384 have previously said that they don’t want state funds being used to promote abortions.

At the University Medical Center, law has prohibited teaching abortion procedures since 1974, according to an email statement from Katie Riley, the director of media relations and spokesperson at the Arizona Health Sciences Center.

Riley noted that Dr. Kathryn Reed, the department head of obstetrics and gynecology at the Arizona Health Sciences Center, confirmed that H.B. 2384 could affect an estimated 80 residents.

Kristin Anchors, a first-year graduate student of the College of Medicine, said that medical students cannot learn about abortion on campus. Students have to go to Planned Parenthood or get information on their own by going to conferences in other cities, she said.

“”I find myself going out of my way to learn these things and to understand the law so that someday I can still provide this service for somebody in the future,”” Anchors said, “”which is kind of strange that I have to do that.””

Heinz said he suspects the obstetrics and gynecology program at the UA will not be in compliance for national accreditation because it requires the training program to offer the option of abortion-training procedures to their residents.

“”It’s simply, purely a training issue and it should be left alone by the legislature,”” Heinz said.

He also said the bill creates an enormous hurdle for the university to have to deal with in order to comply with the law.

“”They’re doing everything that they can to intrude on a woman’s personal, private medical decisions,”” Steinberg said.

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