Arizona Still Leading the Way in New Laws Restricting Abortion

Arizona, already a state known for strict anti-abortion measures, is still among the states imposing new restrictions in 2014.

The Center for Reproductive Rights released a comparison of new abortion-related laws passed by states in 2014, and judged Arizona as one of 10 states where legislators have passed big anti-abortion measures.

See also:
-Brewer Signs Bill Allowing Warrantless Searches of Abortion Clinics
-Arizona's New Abortion Rules to Stay Blocked

If the organization's name sounds familiar, that's because they've been involved in recent litigation against one of Arizona's abortion-restricting laws. They were successful in getting a panel of federal judges to block the implementation of laws mandating very strict use of medicated abortion methods in Arizona while the court battle goes on.

Nationwide, the organization counted 250 bills proposing abortion restrictions across 40 states in 2014, countered with 100 bills they classify as "proactive, pro-women's health measures."

Arizona didn't get back in the good graces of the Center for Reproductive Rights, thanks to a new law that allows the state health department to perform searches of abortion clinics without a warrant.

From the organization's report:

Arizona enacts "perfect storm" TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) law

HB 2284 presents the ultimate catch-22 for abortion providers in Arizona. The bill greatly expands the state health department's ability to conduct surprise, warrantless inspections, while simultaneously sharply curtailing a clinic's ability to remain open if the inspection reveals even a minor deficiency that bears no relationship to patient health or safety.

Anti-abortion activists elsewhere routinely file anonymous, unfounded complaints for the purpose of encouraging the state health department to harass and ultimately close abortion clinics. One serious risk of HB 2284 is that it could lead to arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement of the many laws and regulations applicable to abortion care in the state--some of which are completely unrelated to patient safety. This bill is yet another example of Arizona's notoriously misguided efforts to limit constitutional rights and freedoms instead of promoting and protecting those rights. For example, legislators in 2012 passed one of the most extreme anti-abortion laws in recent memory. The most egregious provisions of that bill--an unconstitutional ban on pre-viability abortion and harmful restrictions on medication abortion--are blocked from going into effect by federal court orders.
That law was supported by the Center for Arizona Policy, the organization that was also behind SB 1062, the so-called "religious freedom" bill.

Arizona's still not the state with the most restrictive abortion regulations, as Mississippi -- a state with just one abortion clinic still open -- managed to come up with further regulations of the practice.

Some of the laws passed by the other states shown above in red are already on the books in Arizona. Check out the Center for Reproductive Rights' report for more information on the laws passed by other states.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley