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Arizona Senate Votes to De-Fund Planned Parenthood

by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 4/24/12 3:58 PM

State

The Arizona state Senate has voted to approve legislation de-funding Planned Parenthood, the nation’s biggest abortion business that does more than one-fourth of all abortions in the United States.

The state Senate passed, 18-8, the Whole Woman’s Health Funding Priority Act of Arizona (HB 2800) that will defund abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood of state family planning money. The bill is based on model legislation developed by the SBA List and the Alliance Defense Fund, and prioritizes family planning funds away from abortion-centered businesses like Planned Parenthood to entities that provide women with comprehensive health care.

Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, Vice President of Government Affairs for SBA List, told LifeNews after the vote:  “Planned Parenthood’s abortion-centered business model does not need or deserve taxpayer dollars. We encourage Gov. Brewer to quickly sign this bill into law. Arizona is leading the charge to protect taxpayers and women from Planned Parenthood and the violence of abortion.”

Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel Steven Aden also commented, saying, “The hard-earned tax money of Arizonans shouldn’t be funneled to groups that perform abortions. This law ensures that public funds will not be used to subsidize the activities of organizations like Planned Parenthood that have demonstrated, nationwide, that they care more about their bottom line than they do about women or the proper use of taxpayer money.”

The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Jan Brewer to be signed into law.

In 2011, eight states successfully defunded Planned Parenthood of more than $61.7 million — including Texas, New Hampshire, and Indiana. Ohio, Iowa, and Oklahoma have taken on Planned Parenthood’s tax funding, in addition to Arizona, this year.

Rep. Kimberly Yee, R-Phoenix, says state law in Arizona already prohibits taxpayer funding of abortions directly, but she wants to cut off what she called “backdoor funding” to abortion businesses as well.

Cynde Cerf, a Planned Parenthood Arizona spokeswoman told the Associated Press previously that cutting funding would jeopardize non-abortion services Planned Parenthood provides, but did not address how stopping abortions would free up necessary funds to pay for them

Deborah Sheasby, a Center for Arizona Policy attorney, says the pro-life group strongly supports the bill.

“The state doesn’t lose any money through doing this, so it will be out there to help women,” she told AP.

The group said Planned Parenthood tried to defeat the measure in committee but was unsuccessful.

“Once again, Planned Parenthood tried to distort and misrepresent the dangers of abortion and the facts of this bill. Yet, thanks to the bill’s sponsor Rep. Kimberly Yee, and the members of the Senate Judiciary committee, Planned Parenthood was not able to derail this important legislation,” CAP said. “The two-hour committee hearing is well-worth watching. One of the most powerful moments was when one pro-abortion supporter tried to claim that giving birth is more dangerous – and causes more deaths – than abortion. Senator Steve Yarbrough reminded the woman that this is impossible because there is always one death from abortion – the loss of the preborn child.”

“The most concerning aspect of the committee hearing however is Planned Parenthood’s complete denial of any risks of abortion. You and I know abortion not only takes the life of the preborn child but also poses significant risks to the mother. All of us know women who were harmed by an abortion,” the pro-life group added.

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Other legislation pro-life groups support is also advancing in the Arizona legislature, according to the Arizona Catholic Conference.

“On Thursday, a very important bill (HB 2625) pertaining to religious liberty passed the Arizona House of Representatives and now heads to the Senate.  Specifically, HB 2625 creates a much more meaningful exemption for insurers and employers with religious objections to providing contraceptives in their health plans,” the group told LifeNews. “If passed into law, this legislation will better enable Arizonans to defend ourselves against the recent actions by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and certainly better protect religious liberty whenever the federal contraceptive mandate rule is overturned or changed.”

In February, the SBA List joined the Center for Arizona Policy, Arizona Right to Life, and other local groups to host two “Women Speak Out: Defund Planned Parenthood” press conferences in front of local Planned Parenthood abortion clinics to draw attention to the organization’s abortion-centered business and calling for the passage of the bill.

The press conferences came a day after Chuck Donovan, President of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the education and research arm of the SBA List, testified before the Arizona House Health Committee in favor of the bill in coordination with the Center for Arizona Policy.