Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona signed into law on Friday a bill that will prevent the allocation of public funds to abortion providers in the state. Ironically titled the “Whole Women’s Health Funding Priority Act,” the law will cut all funding for health services delivered by Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, effecting the nearly 4,000 women receiving Medicaid-funded health care in the state.
Arizona does not currently provide tax dollars for abortion, but those who support the law say it is still necessary to ensure that no money goes to these organizations. The governor’s signature comes just weeks after she signed a bill that bans abortion after 20 weeks.
Planned Parenthood is saying the law will put thousands of women’s lives at risk. In addition to providing abortion services to women, Planned Parenthood provides a range of health services, such as STI testing, cancer screenings, vaccinations, birth control, and sexual health education often at a reduced cost for low-income women.
President of Planned Parenthood Arizona Bryan Howard said, “Many in the legislature will never know what it’s like to feel a lump in their breast and have to worry about the cost of a doctor’s visit. This is the reality with which many Arizona women are faced, at the hands of a legislature determined to reduce access to prevention care while pursuing its ideological political agenda.”
Texas, Vermont, and Tennessee have enacted similar legislation, along with Indiana, North Carolina, and Kansas, where the laws are currently being challenged.
Media Resources: Arizona Republic 5/7/12; Forbes 5/7/12; CNN 5/5/12; Reuters 5/5/12