State Capitol News
3:21 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

House Panel Votes to Allow Unannounced Inspections at Abortion Clinics

A House panel voted along party lines today to allow unannounced inspections of abortion clinics despite a 1995 court ruling saying they’re unconstitutional. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.

Rep. Debbie Lesko
Rep. Debbie Lesko
Credit Capitol Media Services file photo by Howard Fischer

Rep. Debbie Lesko said there is no justification for requiring the Department of Health Services to first get permission or a court-issued search warrant for an abortion clinic when it’s not required for other facilities.

“I see no reason why supporters of abortion would be against having health inspections just like every other health industry. I would think that you would want to protect the women’s health,” Lesko said.

However, a federal appeals court voided a similar law in 2004, ruling that the nature of abortion required enhanced privacy protection. Rep. Sally Gonzales said that ruling was justified.

“People have been killed outside abortion clinics. And it’s unfortunate. That doesn’t happen really at other hospitals and clinics,” Gonzales said.

But, Lesko said state health officials have said they keep information private.

“I mean, if people are going to go around killing people, they’re going to do it regardless of DHS goes in and be able to inspect a facility,” Lesko said.

Supporters of the measure say that 2004 ruling no longer applies because of changes in law.