FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PHOENIX, AZ. Yesterday, Governor Ducey signed multiple bills into law that undermine women’s health in Arizona and are part of a nationwide trend targeting women’s health care.
SB 1324: Forces doctors to use an outdated protocol for medication abortion.
Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill mandating that physicians use an outdated and less effective protocol for medication abortion -- ignoring new guidelines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this week. This law also forces women to travel to a health center four times for medication abortion, given other existing restrictions in Arizona. Currently, there is a two trip requirement under the law to receive a medication abortion.
This new AZ law forces doctors to ignore the latest evidence-based protocols and follow an outdated regimen, outlined on the old mifepristone label, which was based on clinical trials completed in the mid-1990s. Medical research has demonstrated the safety and effectiveness of a newer FDA-approved regimen using a lower dosage of mifepristone that can also be used three weeks later in pregnancy, up to 70 days from a woman’s last menstrual period. The new regimen put forth by the FDA has been supported by the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
An overwhelming majority of women who choose medication abortion are satisfied with the method. One study found that 97 percent of women would recommend the method to a friend. Additionally, 91 percent of the women reported that they would choose the mifepristone regimen again if they had to have another abortion.
“This is outrageous! This bill was never about women’s health. It is about forcing doctors to use an outdated protocol to make it more difficult for Arizonans to access abortion. Doctors practice medicine, not politicians. And doctors need to be free to incorporate evidence-based improvements into their treatment regimes. This bill should have never made it to the Governor’s desk. Arizona citizens are tired of needless legislation pushed by interest groups with an extreme social agenda.” said Bryan Howard, President of Planned Parenthood Arizona.
The Governor also signed SB 1474; which essentially outlaws the use of fetal tissue for medical research. It also makes fetal tissue donation illegal.
“Planned Parenthood Arizona does not have a tissue donation program, so this bill does not impact us” says Bryan Howard, President of Planned Parenthood Arizona. “Unfortunately, lifesaving medical research will be impacted by this restriction.”
“Scientific professionals across the country are deeply concerned about bills like this. Just this month, over 50 professional associations, scientific research organizations, and universities issued a joint statement in support of fetal tissue research. Among the signatories were the Association of American Universities, the Association of Medical School Microbiology and Immunology Chairs, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Harvard, and the Stanford University School of Medicine, just to name a few.” Howard added.
Finally, the Governor signed SB 1485; a targeted bill that permanently prohibits state employee payroll deductions for contributions to charitable organizations that provide or facilitate abortions.
This bill prevents state employees from contributing to Planned Parenthood via the State Employees Charitable Campaign (SECC).
“Planned Parenthood Arizona has been part of the SECC for 30 years, through Democratic and Republican administrations” says Jodi Liggett, VP of Public Affairs at Planned Parenthood Arizona. “This is a blatant political ploy, which punishes state employees, not Planned Parenthood.” Liggett continued, “We are disappointed that the Governor and Legislature have chosen to politicize charitable giving, which is a disservice to the entire community.”
The SECC collects an administration fee from employee donations so the entire campaign is self-funded; no taxpayer dollars are spent running the campaign. Included in the state’s list of charities are organizations that, unlike Planned Parenthood, provide no health or human services, which is the stated criteria for inclusion in the campaign.
The Alliance of Arizona nonprofits also opposed the legislation (see attached).
Jodi Liggett, VP of Public Affairs added: “Since 2010 alone, Arizona has wasted over $1 million in taxpayer funds defending unconstitutional abortion restrictions. Arizona taxpayers want the Governor and Legislature to get on with the business of governing, like funding education, helping the nearly 20,000 children in foster care, ensuring competently run elections. What they don’t want is politicians interfering in women’s private medical decisions.”
In the community for over 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.