A Bad Month for Women in Arizona
April has been a bad month for women’s health in the state of Arizona.
On Tuesday, the Arizona Senate passed and sent legislation to Governor Jan Brewer that would ban federal funding for Planned Parenthood health centers. If signed into law, the bill could directly affect more than 4,000 low-income patients seeking preventive health care.
Simply put, this bill would put women’s lives and health at risk.
From cancer screenings, breast exams, to birth control, these health centers provide basic preventive care tens of thousands of Arizonans each year, regardless of one’s ability to pay. If the proposed bill is signed into law, it would result in the elimination of all Medicaid funds for these health centers, leaving many to go without the care they need.
In a time of economic uncertainty, this bill would not only add to the economic burden by reducing health care options for Arizona’s women, men, and families, but it could become even more of a burden to taxpayers. Studies show for every dollar invested in family planning, taxpayers save approximately $3.74 in Medicaid costs. Nevertheless, these economic issues are of no concern to anti-women’s health politicians who would rather sabotage care for thousands of women than allow Planned Parenthood to provide care in the state.
Unfortunately that’s not the only anti-women’s health bill waiting to be signed.
On Wednesday, a second bill—which would allow employers to discriminate against employees who use birth control—was sent to Governor Brewer’s desk for final signature. This bill would broaden the religious exemption that already exists as a basis for chipping away at women’s access to birth control.
Right now, Arizona law requires health insurance plans that cover prescription medication to provide equal coverage for contraception. However, under the new legislation, a woman seeking coverage for contraception would need to go through layers of bureaucracy, if she wished to be reimbursed for birth control. It would repeal the current bipartisan law, which was originally signed by then-Governor Jane Hull, a Republican and Catholic, and further restrict access to this overwhelmingly popular and basic preventive care.
And to top it all off, both of these bad bills come on the heels of the governor’s signing into law the most extreme abortion ban in the United States, which places severe limits on when women can get abortion care.
The policies being pushed forward by these far-right legislators are simply dangerous to women. Not only do they represent extreme overreach by the government (which should not be involved in the private medical decisions best left up to a woman, her doctor, and her family), but they signify that these politicians would rather advance their own ideological agenda then protect the health and well-being of women in their state.
Tell these politicians to stop playing politics with women’s health! Tell them you’re watching by signing the pledge today!