We mentioned in this week's Skinny column that Planned Parenthood would be revealing how new abortion restrictions would affect the organization's services. Today, Planned Parenthood CEO Bryan Howard laid out the changes:
At two press conferences today, Bryan Howard, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Arizona talked about how Arizona woman are being affected by abortion restrictions that are being implemented this week.
As the result of laws passed by the Arizona Legislature and an Arizona court decision last week, Planned Parenthood has been forced to discontinue abortion care in six cities. Abortion care will be provided at three health centers—two in Metro Phoenix (Glendale and Tempe) and one in Tucson.
“For the first time in more than 30 years, Arizona women will have far fewer health care options available to them,” says Howard. “There will be no known provider of abortion outside of Metro Phoenix or Tucson.”
Planned Parenthood was forced to take this drastic step because of the new restrictions introduced in 2011 that ban many of the organization’s health care professionals from providing abortion care. The organization decided to focus its energy on complying with the new laws and accommodating women in communities losing access, while it continued to pursue a legal challenge for the medically unnecessary regulations.
Women will be able to continue receiving life-saving cancer screenings, annual gynecological exams, STD testing and treatment, and birth control at all 13 of the organization’s health centers across Arizona.
“Under the guise of making laws that make women safe, these restrictions will actually be more dangerous for rural, low-income women, delaying care and making access difficult,” says Howard
Planned Parenthood Arizona plans to take the Court of Appeals ruling to the State Supreme Court and continue to challenge the provisions set into place in 2009. The 2009 restrictions include an additional in-person visit to listen to a state-mandated script read by the physician 24 hours before receiving care, notarized parental consent forms for minors seeking an abortion, and the right for pharmacists to refuse to fill a woman’s birth control prescription if it is against his or her beliefs.
The organization withdrew its preliminary injunction for the 2011 provisions it is challenging so it can focus efforts on providing preventive health care and being compliant with state laws.
“Planned Parenthood will continue to fight these unconstitutional laws in court,” says Howard. “And, while we fight these laws, we will have to do even more to reach out to Arizona women and families that need affordable family planning and prevention care.”