Law would limit health services by Planned Parenthood
If House Bill 2800 is signed into law, Yuma residents enrolled in the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System will no longer be eligible to receive health services at the Planned Parenthood Yuma Health Center.
HB 2800, also known as the Whole Woman's Health Funding Priority Act of Arizona, was created to halt state family planning funding to abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood. The organization performs about 10,000 abortions statewide annually, but also provides other health services to about 65,000 people each year.
“This legislation is intended to prevent women and men whose health care is covered by the AHCCCS/Medicaid program, including Yuma-area residents, from getting their preventive health care at Planned Parenthood,” said Bryan Howard, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona Inc.
The politicians who voted for this bill are in “pursuit of a political agenda” and “are making it harder to get the most basic health care,” he added.
Already passed by the Arizona House, HB 2800 was approved by the Senate in a vote of 18-8 on Tuesday.
“Arizona is leading the charge to protect taxpayers and women from Planned Parenthood and the violence of abortion,” said Marilyn Musgrave, vice president of government affairs for the Susan B. Anthony List, a nonprofit that supports pro-life women in politics.
“We encourage Gov. (Jan) Brewer to quickly sign this bill into law.”
Proponents of the bill said if it is passed, the state family planning funding would be given to other women's health organizations that provide women with “comprehensive health care.”
“Planned Parenthood's abortion-centered business model does not need or deserve taxpayer dollars,” added Musgrave, a former Republican U.S. congresswoman for the 4th District of Colorado.
Musgrave said this is despite the fact that such funds provided by the state already are prohibited by law to be used to pay for abortions.
“AHCCCS does not cover abortion care except in the most unusual circumstances,” Howard stated.
The money is instead used by Planned Parenthood of Arizona for health care “that includes cancer screenings, birth control and screening, and treatment for sexually transmitted infections,” Howard added.
The organization also provides breast health services, Pap tests, sexual health education, and information and health counseling.
But even if Planned Parenthood loses funding from the state, the Yuma Health Center will remain open.
“Planned Parenthood has been a part of Yuma's health care community for decades and we are committed to the women and families throughout southwestern Arizona,” Howard said.
“This legislation will not lessen that commitment, including through our Yuma Health Center. We will work with AHCCCS members to find the best possible way to get their health care needs met.”
There are many reasons women, men and young people use the services provided by Planned Parenthood for their health care, Howard said, “including our determination to protect patient's privacy, confidentiality and dignity.”
Howard believes that the “anti-women's health legislators” who created the bill are cynically targeting family planning providers, including Planned Parenthood, at the expense of men, women and teens.
“We believe health care should be about respect and be non-judgmental,” he said.
“The Legislature and the governor, if she signs HB 2800, are communicating that they do not respect Arizonans enough to allow us to decide for ourselves where to get our health care.”
Chris McDaniel can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6849.