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Ariz. Governor Signs Antiabortion-Rights Bill

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) on Monday signed a bill (SB 1318) into law that will require physicians to share medically unproven information with patients seeking medication abortions, among other abortion restrictions, the AP/U-T San Diego reports (Christie/Van Velzer, AP/U-T San Diego, 3/30).

Law Details

One provision in the law will bar women in the state from purchasing health plans that include abortion coverage on the Affordable Care Act's (PL 111-148) insurance marketplace. The restrictions do not apply to pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, or when a pregnancy threatens a woman's life.

In addition, the law includes a provision that will require physicians to tell women medically unproven statements about being able to reverse a medication abortion. Specifically, providers will be required to state that administering high doses of progesterone could reverse a medication abortion (Women's Health Policy Report, 3/27). According to the AP/U-T San Diego, the provision is the first of its kind to become law in the U.S. (AP/U-T San Diego, 3/30).

The law also will require that physicians provide documentation to the state Department of Health Services showing that they have hospital admitting privileges (Women's Health Policy Report, 3/27). The records will not be made available to the public (Wingett Sanchez, Arizona Republic, 3/30).

Comments

Ducey said the legislation "provides clarity to state law" on not "subsidizing" abortion with public funding (AP/U-T San Diego, 3/30). However, opponents have said that public funding already does not support abortion procedures (Women's Health Policy Report, 3/27).

Cynde Cerf, director of communications and marketing at Planned Parenthood of Arizona, said the measure would increase costs for women seeking a health plan that includes abortion coverage (Arizona Republic, 3/30).

Opponents of the medication abortion provision have called the claim "junk science," Reuters reports.

Meanwhile, supporters of the provision claim there is evidence that medication abortions can be reversed, but they have not identified any peer-reviewed scientific studies that support that assertion, according to Reuters (Schwartz, Reuters, 3/30).

PPAZ President Bryan Howard said in a statement, "Instead of delivering on his campaign promises to reduce the negative stigma our state has taken on because of extreme and out-of-touch politics, Gov. Ducey has put Arizona once again in the national spotlight for interfering in the medical decisions of women" (AP/U-T San Diego, 3/30).

Howard said PPAZ would fight the law through "all of our options, including litigation" (Reuters, 3/30).