abortion in az
Despite the fact that the US Supreme Court ruled over 40 years ago on the constitutional right to abortion, Arizona lawmakers have shown a fierce determination to put up as many barriers as possible to prevent women from receiving abortion care. Since 2004, the Arizona State Legislature has become increasingly hostile to women’s reproductive needs and their rights to safe, legal, and accessible abortion and even medically accurate information.
In detailing abortion restrictions around the US, New York Times writer Linda Greenhouse wrote, “Of all these states [imposing restrictions on legal abortion], Arizona wins the prize.”
Below is a summary of current laws regarding abortion in Arizona, followed by resources and further reading. For information about the current legislative session, and a detailed list of laws passed each year, see the Legislative Bill Watch.
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Abortion Restrictions in Arizona:
Arizona is one of many states that does not allow Medicaid recipients to use Medicaid to pay for their abortion.
State law prevents lawsuits against medical providers who omit or withhold information from patients that may lead to the abortion of an abnormal fetus. Examples include a medical provider limiting the scope of test results or avoiding tests that may result in a woman’s choice to terminate her pregnancy.
State laws add multiple hoops for women to jump through before obtaining an abortion, such as requiring patients seeking an abortion to receive an ultrasound. Additionally, patients in Arizona must endure a 24 hour waiting period before receiving an abortion. This means that a patient must go to two appointments no closer than 24 hours apart.
All abortion care, including the delivery of the pills used in a medicated abortion, must be administered by a medical doctor. Likewise, all required abortion counseling must come from a medical doctor. These rules put excessive requirements on abortion providers.
Medicated abortion cannot be prescribed through telemedicine, requiring patients in the vast rural areas of Arizona to travel to Phoenix or Tucson, where they must attend two appointments no closer than 24 hours apart.
Medicated abortion is considered a “surgical” procedure, placing unnecessary requirements on both patients and providers.
State law prohibits any insurance plan offered through the state health care exchange from offering abortion coverage except in cases where the woman’s life is in danger from continuing her pregnancy. Arizona is one of 21 states that have legislation in place to restrict abortion coverage in their insurance exchanges.
State law allows the state to conduct surprise inspections of abortion clinics during regular business hours completely unannounced. An application for licensure is needed to complete an inspection, but the inspection can be completed while the application is still in the ‘pending’ process.
The Arizona State Legislature has gained national attention in the last year for passing even more extreme legislation, such as a laws requiring doctors to prescribe the medication used for abortion based on outdated information, as well as telling patients that abortion via medication is “reversible”. Both of these rules were withdrawn, but demonstrate the extremes to which Arizona legislators will go to limit access to safe and legal abortion care. Make sure to follow us on Facebook to get all the latest updates on reproductive rights in Arizona.
Additional Resources and Further Reading: