State Capitol News
10:35 am
Mon September 14, 2009

Planned Parenthood challenges state's abortion restrictions

Phoenix, AZ – The state's largest abortion provider filed suit Monday to block
a new law that imposes some new restrictions on the procedure.

That law set to take effect later this month imposes a 24-hour
waiting period before a woman can terminate a pregnancy. Planned
Parenthood does not challenge that directly. But organization
president Bryan Howard said it's unconstitutional to require pre-
abortion counseling be done face-to-face rather than over the
phone.

Rep. Nancy Barto, who sponsored the legislation, said women
deserve that one-on-one treatment.

"They get it when they seek other medical attention. And, in
regards to abortion, they don't. This ensures that they get the
information that they need and the attention that they get for
their own health."

But Howard said state law requires no similar cooling-off period
or counseling for any other medical procedure. And he said it is
a particular hardship on women in rural areas. His organization
also is challenging another provision which allows pharmacists
and health care workers to refuse to dispense or even tell women
about the morning-after pill.

"If you as a health care professional have some personal qualms
about providing that information or providing the service, then
given the time frames, you have a professional ethical obligation
to refer the person who's approached you to someone who will
provide that information."

A court hearing is set for next week.