Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on Friday signed into law a bill banning providers of abortion services such as Planned Parenthood from receiving funding through the state.
According to Reuters, the Republican-backed Whole Woman's Health Funding Priority Act cuts off funding for family planning and reproductive health care services provided by Planned Parenthood clinics and other organizations providing similar and related services.
Brewer said in a statement: "By signing this measure into law I stand with the majority of Americans who oppose the use of taxpayer funds for abortion."
Reuters reports that in passing the law, Arizona follows in the path of six other states that have passed legislation prohibiting funding for family planning and reproductive health care services providers. NY Daily News reports that Kansas, North Carolina, and Texas already have similar legislation, and Indiana, New Jersey, and Wisconsin blocked funding for abortion providers in their state budgets. But Indiana, Kansas, and North Carolina are facing legal challenges of the legislation.
Huffington Post reports Arizona already bars use of public money for abortions except to save the life of the mother. Anti-abortion legislators and their backers say broader prohibition contained in the new bill is required to ensure no public funds pass indirectly to abortion services.
Fox News reports Brewer said: "This is a common sense law that tightens existing state regulations and closes loopholes in order to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to fund abortions, whether directly or indirectly."
According to Fox News, the measure also affects funding for Planned Parenthood non-abortion services. NY Daily News reports Planned Parenthood also offers health care services such as cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, and vaccinations.
Other bills approved by the Republican led Legislature includes one generally banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy .
Officials at Planned Parenthood in Arizona, the state's largest abortion provider, say the law means that thousands of women in the state will now be deprived of cancer screening services, and various basic health care services.
Reuters reports that Bryan Howard, Planned Parenthood Arizona's president and CEO, said in a statement: "We are most concerned about the women and men who could be forced to go without health care as a result of this bill. We remain committed to providing Arizona communities with the professional, nonjudgmental and confidential health care they have relied on for 78 years."
Huffington Post reports Planned Parenthood provides preventive health care and family planning services for nearly 20,000 women. Planned Parenthood said it will consider legal challenge
But anti-abortion groups have lauded the bill. Reuters reports that the pro-life organization Susan B. Anthony List, said the bill was a "major victory" in the fight to end funding of abortion services. Marilyn Musgrave, vice president of government affairs for the organization, said in a statement: "Abortion-centered businesses like Planned Parenthood do not need or deserve taxpayer dollars."
Reuters reports that while Planned Parenthood has suffered a setback in Arizona, it won a court battle on Friday in Texas. A federal appeals court ruled that the organization could not be prevented from participating in a health program for low-income women in Texas despite the state rule that bans affiliates of abortion providers.
Fox News reports New Hampshire considered similar legislation this year but the bill was abandoned after warning that blocking public funding to abortion providers could jeopardize the state's Medicaid program. Fox News reports that Texas lost federal Medicaid funding for its women's Health Program after the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said prohibiting funding for clinics affiliated with abortion providers violates federal law that guarantees women the right to choose their health care providers