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Arizona Legislature Targets Reproductive Health

Several bills passed by the Arizona Legislature were aimed at regulating women's access to reproductive health care. (SelectStock/iStockphoto)
Several bills passed by the Arizona Legislature were aimed at regulating women's access to reproductive health care. (SelectStock/iStockphoto)
May 17, 2016

PHOENIX - Women's health and reproductive rights took some hits during the recent session of the Arizona Legislature, but pro-choice interests won on at least one major issue.

Legislators were forced to reverse a measure designed to require doctors to use outdated guidelines in dispensing abortion medication after the Food and Drug Administration approved a new label for the drug.

Jodi Liggett, vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood Arizona, says legislators ended up doing more than just reversing the bill.

"They went further than that with that bill, and reversed some other restrictions on medication abortion," says Liggett. "And got rid of this whole notion, at least in statute, about those kinds of abortions being reversible in any way."

However, several other bills passed during the waning hours of the session were aimed directly at reproductive health care and Planned Parenthood.

Liggett says House Bill 2599 contains complex legal language that could be used to block low-income women on the state's AHCCCS program from using Planned Parenthood.

She says the bill, backed by conservative Republicans and Gov. Doug Ducey, targets access to birth control, cancer screenings, STD tests and other critical care for the 2,500 Arizona Medicaid patients who depend on Planned Parenthood.

"The things that happened this session at the eleventh hour were not so great," Liggett says. "Along with many other 'red states' and Republican governors, Arizona has passed its version of a Medicaid de-fund."

Liggett says other bills affecting reproductive health care include one that restricts how Medicaid can be billed for certain pharmaceuticals, and another that blocks state employees from contributing to Planned Parenthood through payroll deduction.

Mark Richardson, Public News Service - AZ