By Dave Andrusko
On Thursday Planned Parenthood Arizona took out its frustration at pro-life victories by filing a broad-based, sweeping lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.
As Dustin Gardiner of the Arizona Republic explained, the three areas at issue are (1) the requirement that only physicians may perform abortions; (2) that after meeting with the abortionist, the abortion-minded woman wait 24 hours before (if she chooses) to have an abortion; and (3) the ban on using telemedicine/video conferencing as a way of distributing chemical abortifacients without the abortionist ever meeting with the woman.
“Many parts of Arizona have become an abortion desert,” said Marc Hearron, senior counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights. “We are asking the court to strike down these laws as unconstitutional because they impose an undue burden on women seeking abortions.”
The argument is that these laws have “resulted in closure of Planned Parenthood clinics in Yuma, Goodyear, Prescott Valley and Chandler,” Howard Fischer, of Capitol Media Services, explained
“And the Flagstaff clinic can provide abortion services only one day a week.”
As a consequence. Bryan Howard, president of Planned Parenthood Arizona, said “that the number of abortions performed has dropped from between 9,000 and 10,000 a year a dozen years ago to fewer than 6,500 now.”
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich was not impressed. “Planned Parenthood might be disappointed its business model is failing, but we’re talking about human beings, not appliances,” he said in statement. “Planned Parenthood should work to change the law if it doesn’t like the policies, not rely on the courts to do its bidding.”
Some of these same laws have been challenged in the past. That includes the mandate for patients to visit a clinic at least 24 hours ahead of an abortion and a prohibition against anyone but a licensed physician from surgically terminating a pregnancy.
In a 2011 ruling, state appellate court Judge Peter Swann rejected arguments that the restrictions impose undue restrictions on a woman’s constitutional right to choose. And he said that it is legally irrelevant that nurse practitioners, who are more available in rural areas than abortion-trained doctors, have a comparable safety record.
The pro-abortion counter is this decision came before the Supreme Court’s 2016 Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstadt decision.
Technically, the lawsuit was filed against Attorney General Brnovich; Arizona Medical Board Executive Director Patricia McSorley; Arizona Department of Health Services; and Arizona State Board of Nursing Executive Director Joey Ridenour.