April 25, 2012 — Arizona legislators on Tuesday in a 18-8 party-line vote approved a bill (HB 2800) that would prohibit state or local governments from using public funds to support any organization that provides abortion care -- a piece of legislation that many believe specifically targets Planned Parenthood, the Arizona Republic reports.
Arizona currently receives $900,000 in federal funding for family planning and reproductive health services. The funds go to county health departments and the Maricopa Integrated Health System (Pitzl, Arizona Republic, 4/24). State law forbids the use of public funds for abortion except to save the life of the woman.
If the bill becomes law, it would affect the nearly 20,000 women who use Planned Parenthood clinics across the state, according to Planned Parenthood Arizona. Bryan Howard, president of Planned Parenthood Arizona, said in a statement, "Women who come to Planned Parenthood aren't making a political statement," adding, "They are coming to get the health care they need" (AP/ABC15, 4/24).
Monica Coury, a spokesperson for Arizona's Medicaid program, said the bill is unlikely to affect the program because it provides public money to private health care providers, who can choose which partners to work with. Coury noted that the program is still assessing the bill (Arizona Republic, 4/24).
The bill's approval comes after Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) signed into law a measure that bans abortion after 20 weeks of gestation in nearly all cases and places limitations on medication abortion (Women's Health Policy Report, 4/13).
HR 2800 is now ready to be sent to Brewer; however, Senate President Steve Pierce (R) said he is complying with Brewer's order not to send her any bills until lawmakers reach a budget deal (Arizona Republic, 4/24).