When the new policy goes into effect, health professionals at the affected clinics will be forbidden to give information about the advisability and availability of abortions, but will be required to tell clients seeking it that "Abortion is not an appropriate method of family planning." Where once they could provide a list of sites where abortions are performed, they will now be asked to provide the names of facilities that promote the health of the woman and the "unborn child." This will be true even in the cases of women whose health stands to be harmed by pregnancy.
Unless Planned Parenthood chooses to forsake federal funds, its patients will face a supreme irony. Under the court's decision, while Planned Parenthood now cannot advise a patient about the availability of abortions at its own clinics, it can continue to perform abortions for women who already know the service is available there.
In the Valley, the new ruling affects the three Maricopa County health departments and two Planned Parenthood clinics, whose combined facilities provide family planning services to about 40 percent of the state's poor women. (A spokesperson at Planned Parenthood says she believes the other 60 percent simply do not receive family planning services.)
The pressure to comply is strong: Were Planned Parenthood not to go along, for instance, it would lose 9 percent of its annual budget, or $600,000.
Even though it means a
lot of money, Planned
automatically adopting the
new guidelines. Associate director
Cheryl Swain says the agency is in
the process of deciding whether to follow directions from Washington, D.C., or forfeit federal funds instead. If Planned Parenthood declines the funds, information about abortions will continue to be available there.
While the organization weighs options like these, it seems appropriate to print the names of facilities in the Valley that perform abortions. Unfortunately, this is nothing like a complete list. Before turning it over to New Times, Planned Parenthood asked permission from each of the providers themselves. More than half, most of them private physicians, refused publicity. These doctors presumably prefer the anonymity that allows them to conduct business without the disruption of throngs of Right to Lifers chaining themselves together and blocking the clinic doors.
The providers' hesitation underlines the stranglehold these new regulations will place upon women desiring an abortion. With middlemen like Planned Parenthood gagged, and with physicians who perform abortions threatened with hysterical demonstrations at the hands of the far right, abortions may become even more difficult to find than anyone had at first imagined. Post this list in the hall.
PLANNED PARENTHOOD OF CENTRAL AND NORTHERN ARIZONA 5651 North Seventh Street
1250 East Apache
967-9414 1530 South Riordan Ranch Road
Flagstaff779-3653 ABORTION SERVICES OF PHOENIX Robert Tamis, M.D.
3549 East Cambridge
Phoenix468-3848 FAMILY PLANNING INSTITUTE 9100 North Second Street
997-7493 5620 West Thunderbird
547-0101 424 West Broadway
968-7471 BRIAN FINKEL, D.O.
Metro Phoenix Women's Center
1710 East Indian School
222-9950 FRED STIMMEL, M.D.
5040 North 15th Avenue