Arizona Bans Funding for Planned Parenthood, Organizations That Perform Abortions

PHOTO: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer speaks to reporters outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, April 25, 2012, after the courts hearing on Arizonas "show me your papers" immigration law.
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Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has signed a bill that will cut off public funding for organizations that perform "nonfederally qualified abortions," striking a blow to Planned Parenthood in the state.

The new law, signed Friday, excludes only those abortions that are "necessary to save the life of the mother or if the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest." Those circumstances are covered by Title 19 of the Social Security Act.

"This is a common sense law that tightens existing state regulations and closes loopholes in order to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to fund abortions, whether directly or indirectly," Brewer said in a statement. "By signing this measure into law, I stand with the majority of Americans who oppose the use of taxpayer funds for abortion."

Arizona joins Kansas, North Carolina, and Texas in fully banning state money from being dispersed to any organization that provides abortions, despite other services that may be offered, including birth control, well-woman exams and cancer screenings.

Three other states -- Indiana, New Jersey and Wisconsin -- have used their budget processes to bar public funding for abortion providers.

Planned Parenthood officials in Arizona said being cut off from state funding would affect nearly 20,000 women in the state who turn to the organization for preventative health care and family planning services.

"We are most concerned about the women and men who could be forced to go without health care as a result of this bill," Bryan Howard, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona, said in a statement.

Fewer than one in 10 of visits at the organization are for abortions, the Arizona Republic reported.

Arizona already had a law in place that prohibited state-funded abortions. The state's Republican-helmed legislature said the new law was passed in an effort to close a loophole that they say could have indirectly allowed funding of abortions.

Planned Parenthood of Arizona said it is considering legal action.

The controversial laws have already led to legal action in Texas, Kansas and Indiana.

On Monday, a federal judge in Texas ruled that the Planned Parenthood providers who do not perform abortions could not be excluded from the state's Women's Health Program.

"For many women, we are the only doctor's visit they will have this year," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "This ruling affirms what women have known all along: Politics simply doesn't have a place in women's health."

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