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Arizona Lawmakers Ban Planned Parenthood Funding

Tuesday, 24 Apr 2012 05:37 PM

 

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By David Schwartz

PHOENIX, April 24 (Reuters) - Arizona lawmakers on Tuesday approved a controversial bill to block abortion providers from receiving federal money through the state, the latest push by a Republican-led state legislature to limit the activities of groups like Planned Parenthood.

The Arizona Senate voted by 18-8 to pass legislation that would cut off any funding for family planning and health services delivered by Planned Parenthood and any other such organizations.

Already approved by the state House of Representatives, the bill now goes to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, a Republican. Brewer has five days to either sign or veto the bill, but has not indicated how she will act.

The move is the latest in an on-going battle waged by conservatives against Planned Parenthood that has been playing out in states across the country and in Washington.

Should Brewer sign the measure, Arizona would join six other states with similar laws, officials said. Three of those states - Indiana, Kansas and North Carolina - are embroiled in legal challenges.

The state does not provide tax dollars for abortion, but backers said the legislation is needed to make sure that no indirect monies flow to these organizations. There were no immediate estimates on how much money is involved.

"We need this because we want to make sure that no tax dollars are financing abortions," state Representative Justin Olson, a Republican, told Reuters. "It's something that taxpayers find abhorrent, and they should not be compelled to pay for it."

Olson said the more money the state funnels for these other services, the more money can be spent on abortions.

But officials at Planned Parenthood Arizona, the state's largest abortion provider, said the bill puts in jeopardy the thousands of people who come to its facilities for services.

The bill "attempts to prohibit Planned Parenthood from providing family planning services including life-saving cancer screenings, birth control and basic health care," said Michelle Steinberg, the group's public policy director.

"There are 4,000 Arizona women and men who currently come to Planned Parenthood Arizona who could lose access to basic preventive care," she added.

Steinberg said that the measure is unconstitutional and should be struck down in court. (Editing by Tim Gaynor and Cynthia Osterman)

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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