Arizona has garnered national attention for its efforts to protect women from the well-documented harms inherent in later-term abortion. In 2013, its first-in-the-nation law, based on AUL model legislation, limiting abortions at or after 5-months of pregnancy, based upon both material health concerns and the pain experienced by an unborn child, was the subject of an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
- The Arizona Supreme Court has implicitly recognized a broader state constitutional right to abortion than that provided by the U.S. Constitution.
- Arizona has enacted AUL’s Women’s Health Defense Act, limiting abortion at or after 20 weeks gestation based upon the significant risks of later-term abortions to maternal health (and also on concerns for fetal pain).
- Arizona prohibits partial-birth abortion.
- It is a felony to perform an abortion in Arizona knowing that the abortion is sought based on the sex or race of the child or the race of a parent. Further, it is a felony to use force or the threat of force to intentionally injure or intimidate any person for the purpose of coercing a sex-selection or race-based abortion.
- At least 24 hours prior to an abortion, a woman must receive information about the nature of the procedure, the immediate and long-term risks of abortion, the risks of childbirth, alternatives to abortion, and the probable gestational age and anatomical and physiological characteristics of her unborn child. A woman must also receive information about medical assistance benefits, the father’s liability for child support, and the public and private agencies available to assist her. The state also requires abortion providers to inform women about alternatives to abortion and hospice programs for those who are seeking abortions because of fetal anomalies.
- Arizona requires that an ultrasound be performed at least 24 hours prior to an abortion.
- Women considering abortion must also be informed that it is illegal for a person to intimidate or coerce her into having an abortion.
- One parent must provide written notarized consent before a physician may perform an abortion on a minor under the age of 18, unless the minor is the victim of incest by someone in her home, there is a medical emergency, or she obtains a court order.
- Arizona has enacted comprehensive abortion clinic regulations which are largely based on treatment protocols promulgated by national abortion advocacy groups.
- Only licensed physicians may perform surgical abortions. Further, a physician assistant may not prescribe, dispense, or administer prescription medicine to induce an abortion, and the state board of nursing may not decree that the scope of practice for registered nurse practitioners includes abortions.
- The state maintains an enforceable abortion reporting law, but does not require the reporting of information to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The measure pertains to both surgical and nonsurgical abortions and requires abortion providers to report short-term complications.
- In 2002, the Arizona Supreme Court concluded that state taxpayers must fund “medically necessary” abortions for women eligible for public assistance, implicitly recognizing a broader state constitutional right to abortion than that provided by the U.S. Constitution. However, a subsequent (2010) law provides that “no public funds nor tax monies of [Arizona] or any political subdivision of [Arizona] nor any federal funds passing through the state treasury or the treasury of any political subdivision of [Arizona] may be expended for payment to any person or entity for the performance of any abortion unless an abortion is necessary to save the life of the woman having the abortion.”
- Arizona prohibits public funding for training to perform abortions the use of “monies paid by students as part of tuition or fees to a state university or a community college” for abortions.
- The state requires that Medical providers cover family planning services that do not include abortion or abortion counseling.
- Arizona prohibits family planning contracts with or grants to abortion providers including Planned Parenthood. The law is in litigation.
- Organizations that receive state funds through Women’s Services programs may not use those funds to provide abortions or abortion referrals, and grantees cannot provide the grant money to entities that promote, refer, or perform abortions.
- A woman may not obtain an abortion at any university facility under the jurisdiction of the Arizona Board of Regents unless the procedure is necessary to save her life.
- In addition, Arizona prohibits insurance companies from offering abortion coverage within state insurance Exchanges established pursuant to the federal healthcare law (required to be operational by 2014), except in cases involving threats to a woman’s life or health.
- Arizona further prohibits the use of state funds “directly or indirectly to pay the costs, premiums or charges associated with a health insurance policy, contract or plan that provides coverage, benefits or services related to the performance of any abortion” except in cases of life endangerment or substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.
- A state statute permitting a tax credit for voluntary cash contributions by a taxpayer or on a taxpayer’s behalf to charitable organizations does not permit donations to qualify for the credits if the beneficiary organizations provide, pay for, promote, provide coverage of, or provide referrals for abortion or financially support any other entity that does so.
- Arizona requires abortion providers to follow the protocol approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) when administering the Mifeprex (RU-486) regimen and other abortion-inducing drugs.
- Arizona has approved “Choose Life” license plates. The proceeds from the sale of the plates benefit organizations providing abortion alternatives.
Legal Recognition and Protection of Unborn and Newly Born:
- Arizona law defines the killing of an unborn child, at any stage of development, as manslaughter.
- The state defines a nonfatal assault on the unborn as a criminal offense.
- The state provides enhanced sentencing for domestic violence offenses when the victim is pregnant.
- The state allows a wrongful death (civil) action when a viable unborn child is killed through a negligent or criminal act.
- The state has created a specific affirmative duty of physicians to provide medical care and treatment to infants born alive at any stage of development.
- Arizona maintains a Dangerous Crimes Against Children Act, which allows for the prosecution of a woman for prenatal drug use or abuse that causes harm or injury to her unborn child. Under the law, the woman can be charged with child abuse and/or drug transfer to a minor under 12 years of age. The state further requires healthcare professionals to report suspected prenatal drug exposure.
- Arizona prohibits destructive embryo research, human cloning, and the creation, transfer, and transportation of human-animal hybrids. The state also prohibits taxpayer funding of human cloning and denies special tax credits to entities engaged in destructive embryo research.
- Arizona requires health professionals to notify patients in the second trimester of pregnancy of post-delivery options related to stem cells contained in the umbilical cord blood and options for their donation or storage in a family donor banking program.
- The state also requires that women providing eggs receive information on the risks of human egg harvesting and prohibits payment for human eggs when the eggs are to be used for research purposes.
End of Life Laws:
- In Arizona assisted suicide is considered manslaughter.
Healthcare Freedom of Conscience:
Participation in Abortion and Contraception:
- Arizona law protects healthcare providers who conscientiously object to participation in abortions. Under this law, healthcare providers must object in writing and objections must be based on moral or religious beliefs.
- A pharmacy, hospital, or healthcare professional is not required to participate in or provide an abortion, abortion medication, “emergency contraception,” or any medicine or device intended to inhibit or prevent implantation of a fertilized egg.
- Arizona also allows a “religiously-affiliated employer” to offer a health plan that does not cover contraceptives in response to the religious beliefs of the employer or a beneficiary. “Religiously-affiliated employer” is defined as either a non-profit that primarily employs and serves individuals who share the non-profit’s religious beliefs or as an organization that has incorporating documents that clearly state that religious beliefs are “central to the organization’s operating principles.”
Participation in Research Harmful to Human Life:
- Arizona currently provides no protection for the rights of healthcare providers who conscientiously object to participation in human cloning, destructive embryo research, or other forms of medical research, which violate a provider’s moral or religious belief.
What Happened in 2013:
- Arizona enacted a measure requiring that Medicaid providers cover family planning services that do not include abortion or abortion counseling.
- The state also considered legislation related to professional requirements for individual abortion providers.
- Conversely, the state considered measures weakening some of its existing provisions, such as legislation changing its currents 20-week restrictions to a viability prohibition and removing civil remedies from its existing partial-birth abortion, informed consent, and parental involvements laws. The state also considered legislation removing language from its current law requiring physicians to abide by FDA-approved protocol when administering abortion-inducing drugs and repealing a law providing that a physician assistant cannot prescribe or dispense abortion-inducing drugs.
Recommendations for Arizona:
Women’s Protection Project Priorities:
- Abortion Patients’ Enhanced Safety Act
- Parental Involvement Enhancement Act
- Child Protection Act
- Defunding the Abortion Industry and Advancing Women’s Health Act
- State Constitutional Amendment (affirming that there is no state constitutional right to abortion)
Legal Recognition and Protection for the Unborn:
- Unborn Wrongful Death Act (for pre-viable child)
- Statutory prohibition on wrongful birth lawsuits
- Pregnant Woman’s Protection Act
- Assisted Reproductive Technologies Disclosure and Risk Reduction Act
Healthcare Freedom of Conscience:
- Healthcare Freedom of Conscience Act