Arizona governor Brewer signs HB2284 allowing unannounced inspection of abortion clinics, law similar to statutes in nine other states


By Dave Andrusko

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has signed the Women’s Health Protection Act into law, assuring that abortion clinics are now subject to the same safety and inspection standards as all other health care institutions, such as primary-care or obstetrics and gynecology practices.

Under HB 2284, if there is a reasonable cause to believe a violation has occurred, abortion clinics, like all other medical facilities in Arizona, will be subject to state and county inspection unannounced —without a warrant.

Elizabeth Nash of the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, told AZ [Arizona Republic] Fact Check that nine other states, including Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, and Kentucky, have similar statutes. Nash admitted that none of these laws have been challenged, but parroting a common talking point among the bill’s opponents added, “Arizona is a more likely locale for a lawsuit because it has historically been ‘out front and center in abortion cases.’”

Other parts of the bill, which was signed Tuesday, “make it a misdemeanor for someone to help a minor get around parental consent laws and require facilities that perform abortions to report any live births and subsequent resuscitation efforts,” the Associated Press reported.

Planned Parenthood was not happy. “HB2284 literally opens the door to harassment of women and their health care providers as these women are receiving abortion care,” Bryan Howard, president of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, told the AP. “We continue to believe that the legislation violates the rules governing abortion clinic inspections to which the state specifically agreed in 2010. It’s on that basis that we expect a legal challenge.”

Pro-lifers note that circumstances are far different from when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down as a violation of the Fourth Amendment an Arizona law that granted the Department of Health Services the ability to perform reasonable cause, unannounced inspections on abortion clinics . The court of appeals talked about an “administrative exception” to the Fourth Amendment. This could allow unnoticed searches for businesses that are closely regulated.

Licensing and regulation of abortion clinics was new then, it is not now. Because abortion clinics must meet various requirements, including mandatory reporting and licensure, they now qualify as closely regulated.

Protests that such inspections are unnecessary ring hollow in the wake of news last week from New York that only a tiny portion of abortion clinics in New York were ever inspected over the previous thirteen years. The State Health Commissioner resigned hours after the opponent of pro-abortion Gov. Andrew Cuomo blasted Cuomo and Dr. Nirav Shah for saying nothing in the 48 hours following a blockbuster story in the New York Post.