On Saturday, April 2nd, Arizona’s governor Jan Brewer attended a dinner with the Center for Arizona Policy, an anti-choice PAC whose sole mission is to outlaw abortion. At the dinner, Brewer signed HB2416 into law. This bill has several restrictions on abortion. And Brewer’s choice to sign the bill at the CAP dinner is a very clear signal about the status of women’s health in the state of Arizona. The Republican super-majority in the state legislature and the governor would rather play politics with women’s lives than actually pass policies that will help reduce the need for abortion by making birth control and comprehensive sex education the hallmark of our state’s public health approach.
AJ’s article mentioned that HB2416 restricts access to medical abortion (which is performed by administering two pills that induce abortion) by legally requiring a physician to perform abortions. But AJ didn’t tell you an important part of how that was accomplished. HB2416 defines medical abortion as “surgery.” Next time you take your allergy pills in the morning, you should ask yourself, “am I having a surgery? Do I need to check myself into a hospital to take this pill?” Because that is what HB2416 says is the law – as far as the abortion pill is concerned, anyway.
Defining medical abortion as surgery will have a very harsh effect on women in rural communities. Currently, there are only two women’s health clinics in the state of Arizona that employ a physician – the rest have nurse practitioners and midwives. Those clinics are located in Tucson and Phoenix. Women who live outside of the Tucson and Phoenix metro areas will have to travel several hours to get to an abortion clinic. And with the state’s 24 hour waiting period (which was passed in 2009 under HB2564), that trip may involve an overnight stay in a motel, or several additional hours of travel if the women decide to drive back and forth for their appointments. [Read more...]