KINGMAN - A state bill that would expand city, county and state officials' ability to inspect abortion clinics, and impose new penalties, received primary sponsorship from District 5 representatives in both houses of the Legislature.
Two of 13 primary sponsors of House Bill 2284, District 5 Sen. Kelli Ward, a doctor, and Rep. Sonny Borrelli, helped introduce the bill that would amend Arizona abortion laws dating back to 2000, the bill shows.
Among the major changes includes a provision allowing health directors, including county health representatives and city fire inspectors, to enter abortion clinics during regular business hours to determine whether the facility is in compliance with the law, local fire ordinances, and other laws relating to abortion, the bill shows.
The amended bill states both pending and approved abortion licenses constitutes permission for the state to enter and inspect facilities, and includes language excluding one's ability to object to the search and entry based on perceived infringement of rights.
Health directors can take legal action against clinics considered non-compliant with their licensing requirements, according to the bill.
But for Teresa Reaume, director of the Advice and Aid Pregnancy Center in Kingman, which offers pro-life alternatives by providing medical and child care training, the outcome of abortion is unfavorable regardless of what condition it was performed in.
"While HB2284 appears to be a good gesture, it only allows for inspection to assure compliance with present law and attempts to protect minors," Reaume said. "The ending of the life of an unborn child under sanitary conditions is still the ending of the life of an unborn child."
Hospitals and facilities that perform abortions in Arizona currently submit to Arizona Department of Health Services a prescribed form detailing each abortion performed at that facility, while keeping patient information confidential per the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
However, if the amended bill passes, those reports will also have to include "whether an infant was born alive during or immediately after an attempted abortion and the efforts made to promote, preserve and maintain the life" of the infant, according to the bill.
The bill amendment received additional support from District 3 Rep. Doris Goodale when she cast her vote March 4 to help the bill pass 34-22 in the House.
Prior to that, the bill passed the House's Reform and Human Services and Rules committees, and narrowly passed both the Senate Health and Human Services and Rules committees this month before being forwarded to the Senate President's office.
The decision now whether to caucus the bill, and have it considered collectively in the Senate, rests with President Andy Biggs, a District 12 senator with three Arizona Right to Life endorsements dating back to 2008.
The pro-life organization's website also lists a 2010 pro-life endorsement for Gov. Jan Brewer, who will take final action on the proposed abortion bill should Biggs choose to clear it for consideration on the Senate floor, and if forwarded back to the House for an approving vote.
If the Senate amends and sends the bill back to the House, and the House rejects the Senate's version, the bill will be forwarded to a conference committee where it will need to be approved by both the House and Senate before it can be sent to the governor.
Bryan Howard, president and CEO of Phoenix-based Planned Parenthood Arizona, said in a release the proposed bill is part of a long line of litigation targeting women and reproductive health issues over the last three years.
The organization said the bill creates privacy issues for women seeking and those providing abortion care by permitting warrantless searches and inspections. He noted the Arizona Department of Health Services already executes immediate, unannounced inspections via administrative warrants, which are obtained legally upon presenting evidence of health and safety risks.
"House Bill 2284 does nothing but open the door to provider and patient harassment," said Howard. "(It) reveals a larger pattern in which well-funded interest groups with narrow social agendas influence legislators to pass unconstitutional laws that damage our state's reputation and cost taxpayers millions of dollars."
AAPC ultrasound nurse Betty Myrick said the bill is necessary from a medical standpoint to protect the mother's health and life.
"The clinic should comply with policy to meet standards of the Health Department regarding sanitation, proper emergency equipment and doctor's complying with the care of the client before and after the procedure," she said.
Click for home delivery with comics, grocery deals, inserts, TV listings, coupons and more