Planned Parenthood Arizona announced this week that the organization would not appeal a recent court decision that upheld new restrictions on abortion in the state.
The ruling, by the Arizona Court of Appeals, knocked down an injunction that had prevented a 2009 law from going into effect.
Bryan Howard, the CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona, said the organization would not appeal the decision to the Arizona Supreme Court. As a result, the underlying case, which remains unresolved in Maricopa County Superior Court, will essentially be put on hold.
"Our decision to not seek Supreme Court review at this time was based on setting priorities in a really challenging environment," Howard said. "What we concluded was that we had to focus on patients first. We're a health-care provider; we're not a law firm."
Among other restrictions, the 2009 law requires a woman who is seeking an abortion to meet face-to-face with a physician at least 24 hours before the procedure, and specifies what the doctor must tell the woman.
Planned Parenthood had already been complying with the requirement that women receive the state-mandated information, but they were using nurses to provide the information over the telephone.
Howard said that Planned Parenthood was focusing on recruiting physicians to read the script to women who are seeking abortions.
"A number of physicians have contacted us of their own volition to say, 'This is ridiculous; this is outrageous; how can I help?'" Howard said. "We're going to work with the physicians who have stepped forward, but it's not going to be enough."
The law also requires that minors seeking an abortion get a notarized permission document from a parent or guardian, which means that a family will need to inform a notary that the teenager is seeking an abortion.
Howard said that the organization would continue to fight a 2011 law that treats medical abortion—also known as abortion-by-pill—under the same regulations as surgical abortion.
As we reported previously ("No Choice," Currents, Aug. 25), the appeals court's decision to lift the injunction means that Planned Parenthood Arizona will no longer be able to offer abortion services at its clinics in Flagstaff or Yuma, and will offer abortion services in Tucson, Tempe and Glendale.
SHOW US THE MONEY
Candidates for Tucson mayor and City Council filed their post-primary campaign-finance reports last week, covering fundraising and spending through Sept. 6.
The biggest takeaway: Democrats continue to hold a significant advantage over their Republican opponents.
In the mayor's race, it's not even close. Republican Rick Grinnell, who got into the race late and qualified for the general-election ballot as a write-in candidate in last month's primary, had raised $15,775, and had just $4,722 in the bank.
Grinnell is participating in the city's publicly financed campaign program, which provides a dollar-for-dollar match of the private dollars he raises. But he has not yet collected the 300 contributions of at least $10 from city residents that he needs to qualify.
Democrat Jonathan Rothschild, the attorney who has been organizing a campaign for more than a year, isn't participating in the program, so he didn't need to file a post-primary report last week. But his most recent report, covering activity through Aug. 10, showed that he'd raised $214,622 and spent about $90,000, leaving him with more than $124,000 in the bank.
Meanwhile, Green Party candidate Mary DeCamp, who is seeking to qualify for matching funds, had raised $2,629 and had $1,056 in the bank.
Over in southeast-side Ward 4, incumbent Democrat Shirley Scott had raised a total of $84,626, including $37,037 in city matching funds. She had more than $51,700 on hand at the end of the reporting period.
Her GOP opponent, Tyler Vogt, had raised $15,363 and had just $4,384 left in the bank. However, Vogt applied for city matching funds last week, which will offer a big boost.
On the northeast side of town, Ward 2 Democratic Councilman Paul Cunningham had raised $57,718, including $25,431 in matching funds, and still had $28,225 on hand.
His Republican opponent, Jennifer Rawson, had raised $14,865 and had $6,832 in the bank. She also applied for matching funds last week.
The relatively low totals of the GOP candidates leave us wondering: Will the business community step up and start funding the Republicans? Or are they going to stay on the sidelines this year?
ROTHSCHILD SNAGS POLICE-UNION NOD
In other campaign news: Democratic mayoral candidate Jonathan Rothschild snagged the endorsement of the Tucson Police Officers Association.
In a statement, TPOA President John Strader said that his organization "is proud to partner with a candidate like Jonathan Rothschild, who understands that public safety is the No. 1 responsibility of local government."
LET PROJECT WHITE HOUSE 2012 BEGIN!
Gov. Jan Brewer announced this week that Arizona's 2012 presidential primary will be held on Feb. 28.
That's in conflict with Republican National Committee rules, which forbid states other than Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina from holding nominating contests earlier than March 6.
What does that mean for Arizona? Well, if RNC penalties remain in place, Arizona will only have half of its delegates seated at next year's Republican National Convention, which makes Arizona less of a primary prize. Also, the Arizona delegation will lose many of its VIP privileges, which means members won't be staying at the best hotels, attending the best parties or eating at the best restaurants.
Is that enough to persuade state lawmakers to push the primary back a week when they swing into action in January? We'd say it's unlikely; our lawmakers are a rebellious bunch who don't much care for other people's rules.
GLASSMAN: ON THE MOVE
Former Tucson City Councilman Rodney Glassman, who resigned from his Ward 2 seat to run unsuccessfully against U.S. Sen. John McCain last year, has taken another step in relocating to Phoenix.
Glassman still has a house in Tucson, but he's now registered to vote at his new Phoenix home, where he lives with his wife, Sasha, who is working in Maricopa County.
But Glassman is keeping one foot in Pima County. He recently landed a spot on the board of economic-development agency TREO, representing his new employer, Waste Management.
"I'm always interested in doing things to help Tucson," says Glassman.
The rumors are true: I, Jim Nintzel, will be hosting a new Political Roundtable on Arizona Illustrated starting Friday, Sept. 16.
I love talking politics, so I'm thrilled to be back on Friday nights at KUAT. I've missed being part of the old Friday Roundtable, which has a long and distinguished legacy, and jumped at the chance to be part of a new roundtable.
We're mixing up the format a bit. Along with reporters from Arizona Public Media, we're bringing in political strategists from the left and the right to tussle over the events of the week. In our debut this week, we'll have former state lawmaker and congressional candidate Jonathan Paton, who is working as a Republican political strategist, and Rodd McLeod, a Democratic strategist and veteran of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' campaigns. We'll be joined by Arizona Public Media political reporter Andrea Kelly.
Hope you tune in.