Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer speaks to reporters outside the Supreme Court in… (Charles Dharapak / Associated…)
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has put an end to tax dollars going to Planned Parenthood by signing a bill that she says closes loopholes for funding abortions.
The bill, known as the “Whole Woman's Health Funding Priority Act,” tightens existing state regulations and prevents any government entity -- city, county or state -- from giving money to an organization that offers family planning that may indirectly fund abortions.
It “closes loopholes in order to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to fund abortions, whether directly or indirectly," Brewer said in a statement Friday after she signed the bill.
Arizona's Republican-led Legislature passed other reproductive healthcare bills during a 116-day session that ended Thursday.
Brewer signed a bill last month banning most abortions after 20 weeks.
“Planned Parenthood’s abortion-centered business model does not need or deserve taxpayer dollars,” said Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colo.) in a statement for the Susan B. Anthony List, an advocacy group opposed to abortions.
However, Arizona already bans providing tax dollars for abortion unless the mother’s life is at stake and Planned Parenthood argues that the bill essentially stifles healthcare for women on Medicaid.
“The problem is the state does not actually contract with Planned Parenthood or any healthcare providers,” Bryan Howard, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood Arizona, told the Los Angeles Times in a telephone interview Saturday.
The only service covered by government-funded Medicaid is birth control such as the Pill, Howard said.
About 4,000 women on Medicaid -- 10% of Planned Parenthood Arizona's patients -- will be affected by the law. Other male and female patients pay for their care out of pocket or with commercial insurance, Howard said.
Still, the organization is taking the threat very seriously and looking into legal recourse, Howard said, following in the footsteps of other states.
On Friday, a panel of federal appeals court judges ruled that Texas couldn’t ban state funds from funding Planned Parenthood while a federal lawsuit over funding is pending.
The panel sided with evidence that the new law preventing Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers from participating in a Medicaid and state-funded health program is unconstitutional.
Planned Parenthood Arizona has 14 health centers in five metropolitan areas in the state, though not all centers provide abortion services.
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