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Ariz. Senate approves bill targeting funding for abortion providers

The Arizona Senate by voice vote on Tuesday approved a bill (HB 2599) targeting Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood, AP/KTAR reports.

The bill still requires a formal vote from the state Senate (AP/KTAR, 4/5). If approved, the measure will head to Gov. Doug Ducey (R) (Fischer, Capitol Media Services/Your West Valley, 4/6).

Bill details

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Justin Olson (R), would disqualify any provider that violates one of several laws from participating in the state's Medicaid program. The measure specifically notes that it would disqualify any provider that does not "segregate taxpayer dollars from abortions." The bill's language could necessitate separating out public funding allocated for "everything from doctors to lighting" (Women's Health Policy Report, 3/17).

In addition, the state could block Medicaid funding to providers who violate state rules regarding medical waste disposal (AP/KTAR, 4/5).

Bryan Howard, president of Planned Parenthood Arizona, previously noted that the organization does not use public funds or Medicaid family planning funding to cover abortion care when such coverage is prohibited under federal law. While the bill does not specifically name Planned Parenthood, Howard said it "is indeed intended to prevent Planned Parenthood [from] continuing to provide preventative services to low-income women in the state" (Women's Health Policy Report, 3/17).

Comments

Senate Democratic leader Katie Hobbs, who opposed the bill, noted its similarity to another Arizona measure (HB 2800) blocked by a federal court. She said the new bill, if enacted, would likely face a legal challenge (AP/KTAR, 4/5). According to Capitol Media Services/Your West Valley, the state used about $200,000 in taxpayer money to pay legal fees for HB 2800 (Capitol Media Services/Your West Valley, 4/6).

Citing more pressing issues that require legislative action, Hobbs condemned the bill, saying, "So instead we're talking about this bill, that again is another attempt to try to defund Planned Parenthood because some people don't like what they do." She added, "The fact is that thousands of women in Arizona depend on Planned Parenthood for health care, including cancer screenings [and] family planning" (AP/KTAR, 4/5).