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Senate Bill 1318 headed to Governor Ducey, promotes junk science and further limits women's access to reproductive health care


PHOENIX –Today, the Arizona Senate passed the amended version of Senate Bill 1318, a controversial bill pushed by legislators who oppose women’s access to safe and legal abortion health care.  The legislature passed this measure over the objections of medical experts like the Arizona Section of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 

SB 1318 contains a provision that prevents women from using private funds to purchase insurance coverage and will force survivors of violence to prove to insurers they are victims of rape or incest. This serves to further traumatize vulnerable women and teens and elicited a strong reaction from survivors of abuse, including Rep. Victoria Steele who publicly disclosed her personal history of abuse when testifying against the bill.

In another blow for women in Arizona, SB 1318 mandates that patients be informed of a clinically untested procedure that is not supported by medical evidence and was developed by physicians who are opposed to abortion health care.

“The mandate in SB 1318 that physicians make medical claims to pregnant women which are not supported by scientific or medical evidence goes against medical best practices. It is dangerous and quite simply outrageous,” says Jodi Liggett, Public Policy Director, Planned Parenthood Arizona.  “Arizona women trust their physicians. Extreme policymakers are preying on this trust in order to further bad medicine, all in the name of politics, and not science. The health and safety of the women of our state must remain a top priority. We strongly oppose SB 1318.”

Planned Parenthood Arizona urges Governor Ducey to protect the women of Arizona and reject this deeply flawed bill.

“Legislators have done a disservice to the women of Arizona,” says Liggett.  “Denying women the opportunity to use private funds for legal and safe abortion health care is an overreach. Further, forcing women and teens to prove rape or incest with insurance companies will only further traumatize victims.”

"At Planned Parenthood, we work every day to make sure women receive quality, safe, compassionate health care, as well as accurate information, support and counseling. Let’s be clear: This bill is not based in sound science and would force doctors to provide patients information that could be harmful to their health. The groups behind this measure are the very same people who make false claims that rape can’t lead to pregnancy — and whose real agenda is to ban abortion outright," said Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "This law is another shameful example of politicians trying to play doctor and putting the health and safety of women at risk, and Governor Ducey must veto it."



Section 1303 of the ACA (also known as the Nelson Amendment) imposes special rules on abortion coverage in the marketplace to make sure no federal funds are used for abortion coverage beyond life endangerment, rape and incest.

Half of all Arizona pregnancies are unintended, and unintended pregnancies are more likely to end in abortion. 

Planned Parenthood adheres to the highest medical standards and guidelines, and our highest priority is the health and safety of our patients.  We oppose political mandates that require health professionals to provide patients non-medical information or endorse medical protocols that have not met evidence-based standards of research.

Representative Victoria Steele, who testified against SB 1318 and shared her story of abuse,

“People get pregnant from incest. People get pregnant from rape. They should not be further traumatized. And this bill would require people to tell their stories to an insurance agent, or maybe a panel, to prove that they were raped. How do you prove that? How does one prove that? What if the woman didn't go to the police department to file a report? What if she didn't tell her family? How does she prove this? What if she didn't go to the hospital after the rape? What if the rapist was someone related to her? Do you see how this would re-traumatize her? Telling my story was incredibly difficult. I tense up and shiver whenever I talk about this. But for someone, for whom the trauma is so fresh, having to turn around and prove that she is eligible for an exemption to a health insurance company – that's abuse. Our state legislature should not be in the position to do harm. This harms people. This bill will harm people.”

Dr. Ilana Addis, testifying against SB 1318 in committee:

“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists supports the availability of high quality reproductive services of all kinds and is committed to improving access to abortion. We believe that both public and private insurance plans should cover all necessary medical services including pregnancy termination. The exclusion of abortion from marketplace plans denies women the option to choose insurance that covers all manners of health care.”

“…We like to practice medicine that is evidenced based and unfortunately the protocol that has been suggested for reversing a medication abortion has no evidence to support it.”


Planned Parenthood Arizona CEO Bryan Howard, testifying against SB 1318 in committee:

“…By our count, this is the 28th piece of legislation regulating abortion that’s been introduced since 2009. What we see here in the past three years since reporting standards changed in the state is that there is zero impact on the number of women seeking and needing abortion. I don’t think any of us believe that women are best off experiencing unintended pregnancy and only then having to figure out what to do about it. They’re best of if they can prevent the unintended pregnancy in the first place and I would hope that at some point, our, you, our elected officials, would want to talk about prevention which has been demonstrated in places like Colorado in a report that was just released last year. That you can reduce unintended pregnancy if you will focus on prevention and reducing unintended pregnancy results in reduction of abortion.”


In the community for 80 years, Planned Parenthood Arizona is the leading sexual health organization in Arizona. The organization provides health care, education and outreach services to more than 90,000 men, women, teens and parents annually. Planned Parenthood Arizona operates health center locations statewide. For more information, please visit www.ppaz.org.


Planned Parenthood Arizona, Inc.


Cynde Cerf
[email protected]


March 26, 2015