Arizona’s HB2416 is an All Out Assault on Women’s Health

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...]

AZ Legislature Takes Anti-Choice to a New Level

In case the rest of the world has any doubt that Arizona is full of gun-slinging, ignorant assholes, one look at the state legislature’s agenda should clear up any confusion.  Several anti-choice bills have been introduced at the legislature in the past few weeks, and they make the already draconion abortion restrictions in our state look like a cake walk compared to what is potentially coming down the pike.  Let me summarize the worst offenders in the bunch.

HB2416
HB2416 would introduce several new restrictions on abortion access, including:

  • Expands the definition of abortion clinic from those that perform surgical abortion to also include those that dispense medications which induce abortion without surgery.
  • Requires Arizona courts to appoint guardians ad litem for minors who are asking courts to waive the state parental consent requirement.
  • The bill expands required components of informed consent to include mandatory ultrasound and “auscultation” (using a stethoscope to listen to fetal organs, including the heart).
    - Both components must be provided at least one hour before medication is administered or the surgical procedure is provided.
    - Must offer the patient to view the ultrasound and to hear the heartbeat, etc.
    - Must offer to provide a detailed explanation of what the ultrasound depicts.
    - Must offer the patient a print version of the ultrasound.
    - Patient must certify in writing that the ultrasound and auscultation were offered, and whether she accepted or declined the offer.
  • Bans use of “telemedicine.”

There are so many problems with this bill it’s hard to know where to start the tirade. For starters, how many pills are considered a form of surgery? Can you imagine if a doctor had to have admitting rights at a hospital if they wanted to prescribe Viagra? The men of this state would be rioting in the streets! What if they needed to have admitting rights to prescribe allergy medicine, or insulin? I think you get my drift. Taking a pill is not the same as having surgery. It’s a total no brainer. [Read more...]