Republican-Controlled Arizona Legislature On Cusp Of Defunding Planned Parenthood

UPDATE (5/5/12): Gov. Jan Brewer signs the funding ban into law.

Arizona is the latest battleground in the conservative war on women as the state legislature appears poised to strip funding from the women’s health care provider Planned Parenthood.

Earlier this week, an Arizona Senate panel approved HB 2800 on a party-line vote. The Arizona Senate Committee on Healthcare and Medical Liability Reform’s move came on the heels of support from the Arizona House, which approved the legislation earlier this month.

If HB 2800 is indeed passed by the full Senate, Gov. Jan Brewer (R) is expected to sign the legislation into law, stripping state funding from any group such as Planned Parenthood that performs abortions.

Unfortunately, the move would have a pronounced impact on poorer Arizona women who rely on places like Planned Parenthood for many of their health care needs. As the following chart shows, abortion accounts for just 3 percent of the patient care provided by Planned Parenthood. The other 97 percent included mammograms, STI treatment, and other health services.

If passed, Arizona will join a growing list of Republican-led states to cut funding for Planned Parenthood. The largest was Texas, who last year stripped the women’s health provider of approximately $47 million in state funds. As a result, 12 clinics were forced to shut their doors, many in rural areas with few other health care providers. Other states, such as New Jersey and Wisconsin, have taken away funds as well.

Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona, who is running for Arizona’s open U.S. Senate seat, criticized the state legislature, calling the Senate panel’s approval was an “extremely misguided” decision. “As a longtime health care professional,” Carmona told ThinkProgress, “I can say without hesitation that restricting access to reproductive health care is detrimental to the health and safety of women. Period.”

Arizona state law already prohibits using tax dollars for abortions. The real effect of HB 2800 would be to take away necessary health care services to low-income Arizonans.