PHOENIX - Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on Friday signed into law a bill to cut off Planned Parenthood's access to taxpayer money funneled through the state for non-abortion services.
Arizona already bars use of public money for abortions except to save the life of the mother, but anti-abortion legislators and other supporters of the bill have said the broader prohibition is needed to make sure that no public money indirectly supports abortion services.
"This is a common sense law that tightens existing state regulations and closes loopholes in order to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to fund abortions, whether directly or indirectly," Brewer said. "By signing this measure into law, I stand with the majority of Americans who oppose the use of taxpayer funds for abortion."
Arizona has said a funding ban would interrupt its preventive health care and family planning services for nearly 20,000 women served by the organization's clinics. The organization has said it will consider a legal challenge.
"We are most concerned about the women and men who could be forced to go without health care as a result of this bill," said Bryan Howard, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona. "We remain committed to providing Arizona communities with the professional, non-judgmental and confidential health care they have relied on for 78 years. The sponsors don't want poor women getting birth control and Planned Parenthood. Number 2, it is intended to score political points."
"Those tax dollars will still be there for family planning and health services. They just can't be done at these places that provide abortions," said bill sponsor Justin Olson, a Republican representing District 19. Olson said the bill closes the backdoor funding that he says happens when Planned Parenthood receives money for other services.
The measure targeting funding for Planned Parenthood for non-abortion services was one of several approved by Arizona's Republican-led Legislature related to contentious reproductive health care issues during a 116-day session that ended Thursday. Brewer is a Republican.
Other approved Arizona bills include one generally banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, which Brewer has already signed, and one loosening a state law that generally requires health care plans to cover contraception.
On the funding issue, similar attempts in Texas, Kansas and Indiana have resulted in litigation.
States that considered versions of the legislation this year included New Hampshire where lawmakers effectively killed a bill as they heeded warnings that blocking public funding to abortion providers could jeopardize New Hampshire's Medicaid program.
A federal appeals court ruled Friday that Texas cannot ban Planned Parenthood from receiving state funds, at least until a lower court has a chance to hear formal arguments. At issue is funding for a Texas program that provides basic health care and contraception to 130,000 poor women.
Texas lost federal Medicaid funding for its Women's Health Program after the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said a state law prohibiting funding for clinics affiliated with an abortion provider violated a federal law that guarantees women the right to choose their health care providers.
Texas' attorney general sued the federal government to have the funding restored, while clinics have sued the state.
RIGHT NOW on ABC15.com
A gunman has surrendered after a barricade situation at Phoenix Baptist Hospital Monday morning.
Freeze watches and warnings will kick off our week as we're expecting a few frigid mornings. Find out when we'll finally break out of this cold snap.
American Airlines has emerged from bankruptcy protection and US Airways culminated its long pursuit of a merger partner after the two completed their deal Monday to create the world's biggest airline.
One person was killed in a motorcycle crash Monday morning in Avondale.
Retired managers Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox have been unanimously elected to the baseball Hall of Fame by the expansion era committee.
President Barack Obama has taken off for South Africa to attend a national memorial service for anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.
Ready for a quick holiday escape? You can curl up by the fire and also go out to enjoy the snow in Flagstaff!
Town officials in Prescott Valley have agreed to put $40,000 for promoting regional economic development.
Democratic state Sen. Leah Landrum Taylor is set to formally announce she is running for Arizona Secretary of State in 2014 after months of exploring a run for her party's nomination.
Lawyers in the racial profiling case against the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office face a Monday deadline for recommending who should be appointed to monitor the agency's operations to ensure it isn't making unconstitutional arrests.