On Wednesday, the Arizona State Senate voted in favor of the new Women’s Health Protection Act: HB-2284, which does three basic things. First, it requires abortion clinics to meet the same Department of Health Services (DHS) standards of safety and inspection as any other clinic or surgical center in the state. Second, it makes it a Class 1 Misdemeanor to aid or assist a minor in receiving an abortion, without parental or guardian consent. And third, it requires that abortion clinics report botched abortions whenever the child is born alive and it requires the clinic report what (if any) steps are subsequently taken to save that child’s life.
Sadly, the vote was straight down party lines, making one wonder if the democrats have any moral constitution at all. For a party that touts itself as being pro-women, it sure seems odd that every one of them would vote against a law which would improve safety and equipment standards in clinics designed specifically to serve female patients.
Regarding the first issue; as it currently stands, county and/or state DHS inspectors are prohibited from snap or random inspections of abortion clinics, except upon obtaining a search warrant. Inspectors are also prohibited from routine inspections except upon re-licensure (once every two years). Out of all the other medical facilities in the state, abortion clinics are given a total pass in the area of safety and health inspection standards. So even if the authorities receive complaints and suspect abuse of the laws, they are not allowed to inspect the clinics in a timely manner.
According to the Center for Arizona Policy (CAP), “DSH should have the authority to perform reasonable cause, unannounced inspections of abortion clinics, just as they do with every other type of health care institution.” HB-2284 supports that view.
Regarding the second issue; Arizona Parental Consent statues do require that prior to a minor having an abortion, written, notarized consent must be obtained by the provider from a parent or guardian. However, currently if an abortion provider violates the law, there are no legal penalties which can be imposed, so there’s no risk involved in coercing a 12 year-old girl to have an abortion. But HB-2284 would change that, even if the child is taken out of state to avoid the Parental Consent law, and make it a Class 1 Misdemeanor, which carries a maximum fine of up to $2500.00 and six months in jail.
Joanne Moudy is the author of “The Tenth,” a paranormal thriller exploring the very real trauma of abortion in a fictional realm. She proudly served as an officer in the military for nine years, before specializing in emergency nursing until retirement. She speaks regularly on the subjects of religious freedom, traditional marriage, and pro-life, and the impact of liberalism and secularism on all of humanity. You can follow her on Twitter @composedof1.