Arizona Capitol

Arizona Lawmakers Back to Abortion Politics in 2015

Despite Arizona having some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, abortion is still on the minds of lawmakers.

The Arizona Senate on Thursday passed a bill, Senate Bill 1318, to prevent health insurance coverage of abortion if the coverage was purchased through the Affordable Care Act.

Jodi Liggett, the public policy director of Planned Parenthood Arizona, says in a statement, "Instead of focusing on balancing the budget, fixing our ailing child safety system, or preventing unintended pregnancies and thus reducing the need for abortion, extremist legislators are again continuing a campaign to limit women's access to health care."

If there's any humor to be had here, it's that the Republican lawmakers behind this bill thought they had already created such a ban in 2010.

At a previous committee hearing on the bill, Republican Senator Nancy Barto explained that they discovered through a Government Accountability Office report that they didn't actually create such a ban.

"Our wording was deemed not to work," Barto said.

According to that report, whoever wrote the language of that bill goofed by saying abortion could not be covered through a state health care exchange. Arizona, as one of the anti-Obamacare states, declined to establish a state exchange, so Arizonans have to use the federal health insurance exchange,

About half the states have a similar restriction in place.

According to Planned Parenthood, they had to lobby for the inclusion of an exception for cases of rape in incest, which is included in this bill.

The bill passed the Senate on a 16-12 vote.

Planned Parenthood of Arizona president Bryan Howard said at a previous committee hearing that this is the 28th abortion-related bill proposed in Arizona since 2009, and the number of abortions has actually gone up over that time.

"For those truly interested in reducing abortion, the only thing that is going to make a difference is to discuss how education and family planning can reduce unintended pregnancy," Howard said while testifying on this bill.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley