Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Red State Round-Up: Arizona

Written by pro-choice activist Amanda Webster

On July 29th 2010, Arizona law SB 1304/HB 2649, an expanded abortion reporting bill, went into effect. Observing that our current governor, Jan Brewer is "pro life", as well as the majority of our state's House and Senate, another anti abortion bill passing comes at no major shock to residents of the Grand Canyon State. Certainly it's not the worst of our anti choice legislation considering our mandatory wait period, insurance prohibition, targeted regulation of abortion providers, and teenage consent law.

What do you need to know about a woman who has had an abortion? Does it matter how old she is, her marital status, how much she has in her bank account, or where she works? Are we less judgmental when a woman can "justify" her choice to terminate a pregnancy? Or does the anti choice movement want to strip women of their privacy and place one more roadblock between her and her right to a safe and legal elective abortion? The group Arizona Right to Life brags on their website that "the information [gathered from this bill] gives policymakers and pro-life advocates more statistical information on abortions performed in the state, and the information is also used by crisis pregnancy centers to better serve the needs of women." The movement is sly in their tactics, we can't argue that. Coming from someone who has been a victim of the deception of a "crisis pregnancy center", I can assure you that the information gathered will be used for nothing more than a more educated angle at trying to manipulate women out of their decision to terminate. While I fully support offering resources to women who feel coerced into an abortion, I certainly do not think that giving her false hopes and inaccurate information is going to accomplish that. All it is doing is postponing her decision, but unfortunately sometimes that's all they need to prevent her from obtaining her procedure.

The problem isn't the concept of mandatory reporting, as some statistics can prove beneficial to providing medical research and protecting the health of women. The dilemma with this specific bill is that the recordkeeping required does not respect the patient's confidentiality and right to privacy. For example, reason for abortion data is already required on reports, but the bill language leaves a loophole to include requiring a woman to provide her reason for choosing an elective abortion. Currently, abortion providers are required to report particular information to the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS.) This bill expands already existing requirements. It now includes things like seven new court reporting requirements regarding judicial bypass for minors and information from health care professionals about complications that may arise from the procedure. ADHS is already having issues reporting accurate numbers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state, and there is no evidence that requiring additional information will improve reporting outcomes. Despite the fact that individually identifiable references are removed from the final analysis that is available to the public, this law still creates an additional unneccesary burden for the woman, demanding personal information during an already emotional time. Information that is not going to prove beneficial to anyone but those opposed to her right to be there in the first place.


  1. This reminds me of when I had to fill out a long questionare and form when my dog was bleeding to death in a vet walk-in visit.
    I sure got out of there quick and went to the right place whom took care of the dog first.
    Anyway, the first thing that comes to mind here is that they are basing thier assumptions on a statistic as well as category, of minority groups, if the woman was raped, not married, unemplyed, has a history of drug use, and or a criminal record, ect, ect.
    I am assuming this bill's loop hole favors the rich, as well as a woman in good standing?
    I agree with you, that it should not matter. If she needs to get one than she needs to get one no questions asked.
    Even a young teenage girl should not need parental approval.
    The idiocracy of the church is one place to blame, as well as companies like dominos pizza whos money goes to stop abortions.
    Another thing is the amount of sex on these teenager tv shows and movies is discusting...
    What kind of messege is that sending to the young growing minds of impressionable young adults?

  2. I remember having a similar incident with my dad when I was younger. We took him to the ER while he was turning blue from not being able to breath, and they handed us a stack of paperwork and told us there would be a wait! The man was on the floor gasping for air before a nurse actually did anything.

    Your assumption is correct. Unfortunately, most anti bills cater to the rich women. After all, that tends to be the Republican way: cut and slash from the bottom, never the top.

    While I do agree that the media greatly influences society, I must argue that the amount of sexual undertones or messages in television shows is quite to blame for a high teen pregnancy rate. After all, I grew up religiously watching professional wrestling and am anything but violent. As a matter of fact, it taught me a lot about respect and loyalty (plus added some great bonding experiences with my dad to my memory bank.) I grew up watching Saved by the Bell regularly too, but I didn't decide to try to sell my principals car or make my best friend dress up like an alien to deceive some guy into giving me money. Parents just need to make sure kids have a good firm root in reality.

    The blame lies more in irresponsible abstinence only sex ed. That's obvious just by looking at a map of red state teen pregnancy rate versus that of a blue state (or more specifically states with comprehensive sex ed in schools versus the abstinence only alternative.)

    Amanda (blog author)