Arizona Gov. Signs Bill Banning Funding for Planned Parenthood

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has signed into law a bill that bans public funding of Planned Parenthood, a group that provides reproductive health services, including contraceptives and abortions.

The "Whole Woman's Health Funding Priority Act," or HB 2800, "closes loopholes in order to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to fund abortions, whether directly or indirectly," the Republican governor said in a statement.

Planned Parenthood, which runs 14 health centers in five metropolitan areas in the state, is funded by both public money and private donors across the country. While the group says public money is not used to fund abortion services, pro-life supporters maintain that the funding frees up other resources which are, in turn, used to provide abortions.

Existing laws in Arizona prohibit use of public money for abortions except to save the life of the mother. However, HB 2800 provides for a broader prohibition to prevent indirect funding of abortion services.

The bill prioritizes the distribution of public family-planning funds to health care entities that provide comprehensive care for women, according to Brewer. "It also prohibits the state or any political subdivision from contracting with a person or facility where non-federally qualified abortions are performed for the provision of family planning services."

The governor signed the measure Friday while speaking at a reception for the "Susan B. Anthony List," an advocacy group opposed to abortions, in Phoenix.

"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," Brewer said. "By signing this measure into law, I stand with the majority of Americans who oppose the use of taxpayer funds for abortion."

The law is similar to legislation in Kansas, North Carolina and Texas, while Indiana, New Jersey and Wisconsin use their budget processes to bar public funding for abortion providers.

On Friday, a federal appeals court ruled that Texas couldn't ban public funding of Planned Parenthood while a federal lawsuit over funding is pending, Los Angeles Times reported.

Bryan Howard, president of Planned Parenthood Arizona, said his group would also consider challenging the law in court.

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