APRIL 16, 2014

Abortion clinic inspection standards protect women

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STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Legislation that brings safety inspection standards for abortion clinics up to the same level as other health facilities, like hospitals and nursing homes, passed out of both chambers, and was sent to Governor Brewer.

House Bill 2284, sponsored by Rep. Debbie Lesko, R – Peoria, allows the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) to make unannounced health inspections of abortion clinics.

“I am thrilled that this legislation has passed,” said Rep. Lesko. “This common sense legislation will protect women and bring abortion clinics up to the same health standards as every other health facility in the state.”

Currently abortion clinics are the only health care facilities in Arizona not subject to unannounced inspections by ADHS, even if the agency has reasonable cause to believe a violation of safety standards is occurring. ADHS has to obtain a search warrant before inspecting abortion clinics. This process could take several days to weeks. Rep. Lesko’s legislation will allow ADHS to make unannounced inspections of abortion clinics.

In 1998 Lou Anne Heron died in Arizona from complications from a botched abortion. In Response, the Arizona Legislature enacted regulations on abortion clinics in 1999. A Tucson abortion clinic sued, and a stay was placed on the legislation, so it could not take effect.

In 2004, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that ADHS first needed to obtain a warrant to inspect an abortion clinic because, at that time, the court concluded that abortion clinics were not highly regulated.

Over the last 10 years abortion clinics have become highly regulated health care facilities, and should be treated the same as all other health care institutions in the state.

It is also important to note that under this legislation, women choosing to have an abortion will continue to be protected by federal and state privacy laws.

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