AZ State Legislature Passes Bill To Block Planned Parenthood From Providing Health-Care Services To Low-Income Women

Posted on April 24, 2012

Tucson Weekly, April 24, 2012 by Jim Nintzel

Republican state lawmakers and their pals on the religious right aren’t content with getting Gov. Jan Brewer to sign a new law that declares that women are pregnant weeks before conception.

Now they’ve passed a bill aimed at making sure that low-income women in Arizona can’t choose Planned Parenthood for any of their health-care needs.

HB 2800, which is headed for Brewer’s desk after passing the Senate on an 18-8 vote today, would ban the use of federal funds that pass through the state—such as Medicaid funding for low-income Arizonans—from going to organizations that provide abortion services.

That would mean that Planned Parenthood would no longer be able to be paid if its doctors provide low-cost cancer screenings, pap smears, STD treatment, contraceptive options and other health-care services to low-income women who are on the state’s AHCCCS program.

“We are an AHCCCS provider,” Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Michelle Steinberg says. “What this bill attempts to do is keep Planned Parenthood from seeing those patients. The impact will be felt hardest by women who choose Planned Parenthood for their care. They will not be able to choose their health-care provider.”

Cynde Cerf, the director of communications for Planned Parenthood, told The Range last week that the organization believes that the federal government would have a problem with the state deciding to limit women’s access to federally funded health-care providers based on the services that they provide. If that’s the case, the feds could threaten to block Arizona from receiving any Medicaid dollars.

If you’d like to contact the governor to urge her to veto the bill, you can call her toll-free at 1-800-253-0883.

Here’s a press release from Planned Parenthood:

Planned Parenthood condemns Senate passage of House Bill 2800, a bill that, if enacted, could reduce access to a wide range of preventive health care for thousands of Arizonans.

The bill could prohibit Planned Parenthood Arizona health centers, which provide more than 65,000 Arizonans with life-saving cancer screenings, birth control, prevention and treatment of STDs, breast health services, pap tests, sexual health education, information and health counseling, from receiving public health funds. It is unfortunate for Arizonans, that lawmakers are ignoring the fact that Planned Parenthood’s nonprofit health centers in Arizona have been an important part of the health care network in the state for more than 75 years.

In these difficult economic times when families need more access to affordable health care, not less, anti-women’s health legislators are cynically targeting family planning providers—- including Planned Parenthood—- at the expense of men, women and teens.

“Planned Parenthood works every day to keep women healthy. In fact, one in five women in America has turned to one of Planned Parenthood’s nonprofit health centers for professional, nonjudgmental and confidential care at some point in her life,” says Bryan Howard, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Arizona. “Women who come to Planned Parenthood aren’t making a political statement; they are coming to get health care they need. We call on Governor Brewer to reject this dangerous bill inserting politics into health care.”

“Many in the legislature will never know what it’s like to feel a lump in their breast and have to worry about the cost of a doctor’s visit,” continues Howard. “This is the reality with which many Arizona women are faced.”

It is Planned Parenthood Arizona’s hope that Governor Brewer will see that House Bill 2800 will do nothing but reduce the preventive health care options for women and men in Arizona, therefore veto the bill.

Posted in: Arizona