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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Abortion procedures limited in Arizona

Women seeking abortions in Arizona will now have a more difficult time receiving care, especially if they are living in rural communities.

Gov. Jan Brewer signed House Bills 2416 and 2384 in April, which limited access to abortion services and placed restrictions on state funding. Now, lawmakers have set boundaries on who can perform the procedures: they must be physicians.

“We’ve put women at risk for no medical purpose,” said Bryan Howard, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona. “We’re going to have women being forced to leave their own communities where they used to be able to get care … a block away, a mile away, 10 miles away, to travel 50 or 200 miles to get that same care.”

Nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants who have been performing abortions for the past 10 years, especially in rural communities, are no longer permitted to do so, Howard said.

In addition, the number of Planned Parenthood clinics in Arizona permitted to provide abortions has dropped from ten to three.

“I’m not against barring abortions,” said Lauren Bouton, a political science senior. Bouton is the president of the University of Arizona College Republicans but said she does not speak on behalf of the club.

Bouton said there are certain circumstances where she thinks a woman should not have to carry a child, for example, if they are rape victims.

“The only time I’m really against abortion is if people are repeatedly getting pregnant,” she said.

Bouton said there are people out there who actually need the procedure as opposed to those who are irresponsible.

Since the cutbacks in services, women living in rural communities will need to travel to metro Phoenix, Glendale or Tempe for their procedures. Additionally, one of two Tucson health centers still provides abortion services.

“The health centers that no longer provide abortions, including for example Flagstaff, are continuing to do sort of the bread and butter work that they’ve always done which is cancer screenings, testing for sexually transmitted diseases and birth control,” Howard said.

Nurse practitioners will continue to provide that care, which has always been their focus, he said.

Four out of five patients coming to Planned Parenthood in Arizona are seeking prevention services unrelated to abortions, he said.

However, the concern is not with the business part of things, it’s with the patients. Howard said the cutbacks are “more than a disservice” for women seeking abortion services.

“It’s less impact on us than it is on the patients,” he said.

Bouton said if a woman made the decision to get an abortion, she would probably have the procedure done regardless of where the location of the facility was, “even if they have to take days off work and travel.”

“Getting an abortion in the first place is a hard thing on the woman emotionally, and physically as well,” Bouton said. “If they’re not serious enough about getting an abortion because it might be a little farther of a drive, that’s all on them.”

Bouton said she doesn’t know whether or not she supports the cutbacks, but realizes some cuts needed to be made. It’s a good step if it makes people more responsible, she said.

In regard to the 1970s law that barred the UA from teaching abortion procedures to their medical students, Howard said, “It certainly makes a bad situation worse.”

“The opponents of Planned Parenthood, they are all in favor of that ban on teaching, but they also are completely opposed to anybody other than a physician providing that care,” Howard said. “So they don’t want any physician getting trained, but they don’t want any non-physician to be able to provide the care either.”

Howard said the opponents know exactly what they are doing in this situation, because if they cannot outlaw abortions, they will try eliminating medical professionals who would normally perform the procedures.

“Nurse practitioners and some physician’s assistants were providing half of all the abortion care in the state and then suddenly got eliminated from being able to do that,” Howard said.
Planned Parenthood is working to build additional physician time, he said.

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