Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law a controversial measure that cuts off state funding for Planned Parenthood. A legal challenge is likely. A federal court has barred Texas from using a similar regulation to defund Planned Parenthood, according to the Arizona Daily Star.
The Arizona law, titled the Whole Woman’s Health Funding Priority Act, is designed to prevent taxpayer money from indirectly funding abortions. It blocks organizations that perform abortions or operatewhere abortions are performed from receiving any of the federal family planning funding that Arizona gets.
The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Justin Olson, acknowledged it is aimed at Planned Parenthood. The organization is Arizona’s largest abortion provider. It also offers family planning services to about 29,000 women in the state, including health care services such as cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, and vaccinations.
Arizona and federal law already forbid the use of public money for abortions. The new law “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 said in a statement.
Critics said the law makes health care less accessible. “This bill shows lawmakers and Gov. Brewer are more interested in restricting health-care access than representing Arizonans,” Bryan Howard, president of Planned Parenthood Arizona, told the Daily Star.
Planned Parenthood officials say they are considering a lawsuit. A federal appeals court ruled May 4 that Texas must restore state funding to Planned Parenthood until the case can be heard later this month. Indiana, Kansas and North Carolina also are facing legal challenges over similar measures.