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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Prescription-drug bill killed in House

    PHOENIX – A decision by House Majority Leader Steve Tully to kill one of his own bills will continue to allow underage women to take birth control pills, but a measure in the Senate is likely to put more restrictions on underage women seeking an abortion.

    Under Tully’s HB 2707, doctors would have needed either written or oral permission from a parent before prescribing pills to minors.

    Tully, R- Phoenix, said many doctors in the state did not understand the intent of his bill or current Arizona law when it came to what doctors are legally required to do when writing prescriptions to minors.

    The decision to scrap the bill was a relief for Patti Caldwell, the president and chief executive officer for Planned Parenthood of Southern Arizona. She said the bill would have put an undue burden on doctors and families for medical care.

    Caldwell said a vast majority of medical groups, including the American Medical Association, the Arizona Public Health Association and Arizona Family Planning Council, were opposed to the bill because it would limit access to birth control and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.

    Tully denied accusations that he authored the bill to restrict access to birth control, saying he sponsored HB 2707 because he is the father of four daughters who believes he is in a better position than a doctor to weigh what is best for them.

    Caldwell countered that Tully could have created an exemption for confidential medical services like birth control and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases like other states have, but chose not to.

    She said the mark of good legislation is either to remedy existing problems or to focus on advancing good public policy for its citizens, and Tully’s bill meets neither of these standards.

    “”Minors have been able to access a variety of (confidential medical) services for many years in this state,”” said Caldwell. “”There is no obvious problem.””

    A second bill that is making its way through the Senate, HB 2666, would require written parental consent authorizing a physician to perform an abortion on the pregnant minor to be notarized.

    The author of the bill, Rep. Warde Nichols, R-Chandler, said he wrote the bill after hearing how minors have circumvented an Arizona law that requires parental consent for a minor to have an abortion.

    Current law requires written parental consent, but Nichols said he heard of an example where a teenage girl’s boyfriend faxed in a forged consent form to an abortion clinic. He said the parents found out about the abortion after she had the procedure.

    “”If the parents had known, there could have been a different ending,”” Nichols said. “”We know there are abuses of the current system.””

    Caldwell said Nichols’ bill was “”one more hurdle, one more barrier for those seeking abortion services”” and said there was no reason to believe there is fraud going on within the current system.

    An amendment added to the bill by Sen. John Huppenthal, R-Chandler, would require records kept by the notary to be confidential, but Caldwell said that is not enough to protect privacy.

    Caldwell gave the example of a young woman and her father going to a bank to get consent paperwork for her abortion notarized.

    “”They are exposing themselves to a very private and personal issue, having to give that information to a bank teller,”” said Caldwell. “”It is not anyone’s business. The legislature is just adding one more person into a personal situation.””

    But Nichols said that scenario is unlikely to occur, saying the records would not contain the minor’s name, and would be likely to be recorded as a legal document or medical document, not an abortion.

    He said Planned Parenthood testified in committee they have notaries on staff, eliminating the need to bring the documents to anyone outside of the clinic for notarization.

    Nichols’ bill will be heard next by the Senate Rules Committee.

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