Planned Parenthood to end abortions in 3 Arizona cities
Thursday, August 18, 2011
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Planned Parenthood is ending abortion services in three Arizona cities to comply with recent state laws that placed restrictions on abortions, the organization announced Thursday.
Starting Friday, women will no longer be able to terminate their pregnancies at the Planned Parenthood clinics in Prescott Valley, Flagstaff and Yuma that offered abortion through medication. Women can still receive surgical and medication abortions in the Tucson and Phoenix areas, but those services will cease at some suburban locations.
“I think we’ve really done women a disservice in all parts of the state by imposing rules that have no medical significance and just creating barriers,” said Bryan Howard, president of Planned Parenthood of Arizona.
The move came a week after an Arizona appeals court allowed key parts of a 2009 state law restricting abortions to take effect. That includes a requirement that women see a doctor in person the day before getting an abortion to hear about risks and alternatives, and allowing health care workers to refuse to participate in abortions for moral or religious reasons.
The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled the provisions constitutional and said they do not put an undue burden on women seeking to end their pregnancies.
Howard said the group likely will appeal the ruling to the Arizona Supreme Court but believed it was broad enough to impact a separate challenge over 2011 laws regarding abortion. Planned Parenthood withdrew a request for a preliminary injunction in that case ahead of a Sept. 12 hearing.
Howard said he was unclear whether provisions of the 2011 law that prohibit nurse practitioners from performing medication abortions would go into effect immediately but decided to scale back its services anyway. Flagstaff, for example, has only a nurse practitioner who performs abortions.
A spokeswoman for the state attorney general’s office did not immediately respond to a request for clarification on when the laws would be enacted.
Preventative care will be more important than ever now that women, particularly in the northern part of the state, will have to drive farther to reach abortion clinics if that’s what they choose, Howard said.