Arizona lawmakers are one step closer to protecting state tax dollars from funding abortions.
On Tuesday, a state Senate panel approved a bill that would make it easier for the state to defund Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups, according to the Arizona Daily Star.
Approved by the state House earlier this month, Arizona House Bill 2599 would penalize abortion groups that currently receive taxpayer money if the groups do not segregate the taxpayer funds from their abortion practices. Penalties would include loss of taxpayer funding and the revocation of licenses, according to the AP. Under the bill, abortion groups also could lose state funding if they violate medial waste rules, submit claims for abortion-related procedures to Medicaid or fail to report the sexual assault of a child to police, the report states.
State Rep. Justin Olson, R-Mesa, who sponsored the bill, said the measure will ensure that current laws are being obeyed.
“You will need to segregate the taxpayers’ dollars you do receive from the abortions that you provide so it is clear that you are following the law and are not using those taxpayers’ dollars to fund an abortion,” Olson said.
Planned Parenthood officials claim that none of the taxpayer money they receive funds abortions, though some former Planned Parenthood employees say the abortion group does not segregate the funds. Bryan Howard, president of Planned Parenthood Arizona, called the bill a “trap” to cut off funding from his group.
State lawmakers previously tried to de-fund the abortion giant Planned Parenthood; however, the abortion group challenged the law and courts later struck it down. Howard said his abortion group would consider filing a lawsuit if House Bill 2599 becomes law.
However, Olson told the newspaper that his new bill does not have the same flaws as the previous defunding effort because “it doesn’t target any particular provider.” He said the bill would withstand court challenges.
The bill heads to the full state Senate for a vote.
In February, LifeNews reported the Arizona Senate also passed a measure, Arizona Senate Bill 1485, to ban abortion groups from the state employee charitable giving program. The ban is a continuation of a move last year by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to kick out Planned Parenthood from the program. In 2014, the abortion business’s Arizona affiliate received about $7,250 from state employees through the program, LifeNews reported.
After the Planned Parenthood abortion company was caught in multiple states selling aborted babies and their body parts, several states have taken steps to de-fund it. In February, Ohio became the 10th state to take steps to end or cut Planned Parenthood funding.