Abortion still seems to be a top priority for Governor Jan Brewer and the Legislature, as the governor announced the signing of yet another bill that's not making Planned Parenthood happy at all.
Late last week, the governor signed into law House Bill 2800, which, as described in the broadest sense by the Governor's Office, "[P]rioritizes the distribution of public family-planning funds to healthcare entities that provide comprehensive care for women."
As both Brewer and Planned Parenthood acknowledge, it's about abortion.
"This is a common-sense law that tightens existing state regulations and closes loopholes in order to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to fund abortions, whether directly or indirectly," Brewer says in a statement. "By signing this measure into law, I stand with the majority of Americans who oppose the use of taxpayer funds for abortion."
Current Arizona law already prevents public coin from being used for abortions, but the language in this bill prevents the federal money delegated to Arizona from going to places where abortions are performed.
To the anti-abortion crowd, it probably sounds like a win.
If you ask Planned Parenthood, though, it's politics as usual going on at the Capitol.
According to Planned Parenthood, "recent polling shows 78 percent of Arizonans favor state-funded family-planning services for low-income women, including sex education and counseling services, women's health services, and birth control."
Those happen to be services Planned Parenthood provides, but that doesn't matter much in the bill Brewer signed.
"It is unfortunate that lawmakers continue to put ideology and politics before the welfare of Arizonans," Planned Parenthood of Arizona CEO Bryan Howard says. "Women and men who come to Planned Parenthood aren't making a political statement. They are coming to get the healthcare they need."
As the governor and Capitol reporter Howie Fischer point out, a few other states already have passed similar legislation. A federal judge blocked the move in Texas.
Supporters of the bill contend it's not about cutting off money for preventative care to Planned Parenthood but rather prioritizing money to places that provide more "comprehensive" services.
Center for Arizona Policy's Cathi Herrod plays to that in one of her group's announcements, but she also adds the abortion point that seems to be what this bill's all about.
"[Planned Parenthood] claim[s] they do not use taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions," she says. "Yet one taxpayer dollar that goes to Planned Parenthood for anything frees up another dollar to fund their abortion operation. Any funding to Planned Parenthood supports abortions."
The bottom line, at least according to Planned Parenthood: "Thousands could be forced to go without care."
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