Update 8:45pm: Gov. Brewer's office informed LifeSiteNews that she signed the bill this evening.
Brewer's communications director, Andrew Wilder, said, “I wanted to confirm for you that Governor Brewer today signed HB 2284, which makes the inspection of abortion clinics consistent with the requirements for all other licensed health care institutions. This legislation will ensure that the Arizona Department of Health Services has the authority to appropriately protect the health and safety of all patients.”
PHOENIX, AZ, April 15, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) — Pro-life and pro-abortion forces in Arizona are battling over a bill that would subject abortion facilities to the same safety and inspection standards as all other health care institutions in the state. The bill, which has passed the Arizona House and Senate, has until Wednesday to be signed by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a pro-life Republican.
Last Friday, the pro-life group Voices for the Voiceless held a rally in support of HB 2284, which would allow state inspectors to inspect abortion clinics if concerns are raised about the treatment being provided at the clinics. According to the Center for Arizona Policy, the bill also makes helping a minor avoid parental consent laws a misdemeanor, and “requires that abortion clinics report whenever an infant is born alive after a botched abortion and report what steps are taken to save that child’s life.”
According to Voices CEO Josiah Friedman, “around 70 people gathered in front of Planned Parenthood's Tempe Health Center to urge Governor Jan Brewer to sign the Women's Health Protection Act into law.” Friedman said attendees were mostly “students from across Arizona” who “demand equal accountability for Planned Parenthood.”
Three of those students said they are the “bad conscience” of Planned Parenthood. “Planned Parenthood, I am your bad conscience, and I will not be silent. We are students, we are women, we are human beings, and we demand equal accountability.” Other students prayed, and many others — including at least one politician and several pro-life leaders in the state — spoke about the importance of life.
Pictures of the rally can be seen here.
On Monday, Planned Parenthood Arizona (PPA) held its own rally against the legislation. Friedman provided LifeSiteNews with quotes from the rally, as recorded by a reporter associated with Voices.
According to PPA President Bryan Howard, the rally was “for people who share a love of freedom, dignity, and the ability to make decisions without the influence of the people in these three houses.” Howard also gave an ultimatum to legislators, saying that “we're sure this will lead to litigation that will cost the taxpayers of this state.”
Every speaker recorded by the Voices reporter attacked the Center for Arizona Policy (CAP), which helped write HB 2284. CAP President Cathi Herrod was specifically targeted, including by Planned Parenthood Arizona Public Policy Director Jodi Liggett, who led a cheer that said, “Cathi Herrod has got to go.”
In an interview with LifeSiteNews, Herrod said that the criticisms come as “opponents are energized in an election year, and they are doing everything they can to turn Arizona into a pro-abortion state. In Arizona, the battle is engaged between those who stand for life and religious liberty, and marriage, and those who do not.”
While Herrod did not state what she predicted Brewer would do with HB 2284, she said that “last week, [Brewer] reiterated that she is pro-life, and she has not wavered from her pro-life position on bills regarding abortion during her tenure in office.”
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Herrod said she was “encouraged by the decisions of college students to stand for life” at the Voices rally. “Pro-life activism by the younger generation is the future and the hope of the pro-life movement,” she said.
According to Friedman, the Planned Parenthood rally glossed over a series of medically deficient practices in a number of Arizona abortion clinics, as well as the Gosnell House of Horrors. “At yesterday's counter rally at the state capitol, Planned Parenthood billed HB 2284 a license for the harassment of women, [yet] failed to recall a [Department of Health Services] inspection this February at its Glendale abortion clinic which found uncertified nurses and deficient care.”
“They failed to mention that a recent investigation conducted by Live Action into the Family Planning Associates Medical group in Phoenix exposed unsafe and unethical treatment of infants born alive after botched abortions,” continued Friedman. “They failed to remember Pennsylvania late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell, whose ‘House of Horrors’ went unnoticed and unchecked for years.”
“HB 2284 makes provisions for transparency, not harassment, where it is most needed,” said Friedman, who defended HB 2284 as “hardly partisan.”
“It brings abortion clinics up to the same health and safety inspection standards as any other medical facility in Arizona. It affirms Arizona's parental consent statute. It makes abortion doctors accountable for their treatment of infants born alive after botched abortions.”
In February, the Arizona Department of Health Services (DHS) did an inspection of the state's largest abortion clinic in Glendale. The clinic was found to be deficient in several ways, including treatment of a patient. The inspection also found that the clinic did not provide the requisite licensing and certification records for three employees, though Planned Parenthood Arizona says it retroactively gave the proper paperwork to the state for the employees.
Branch Chief for Health Care Institutions Licensing Kathy McCanna told LifeSiteNews that “what Planned Parenthood has requested is what we call 'an informal dispute resolution.'”
McCanna said that dispute resolution “is an opportunity for [Planned Parenthood] to refute any of the deficiencies that were noted during the time of the inspection. We are scheduling that meeting. That process is still an investigation.”
The February inspection was conducted as a result of information provided by Planned Parenthood in April 2013. When asked why it took 10 months for the inspection to take place, McCanna said “the information that we received from Planned Parenthood last year did not suggest that there was an immediate risk to health and safety. However, the department did believe that we would need to conduct an investigation before their next scheduled annual inspection.”
Brewer spokesperson Andrew Wilder declined to comment on whether Gov. Brewer would sign HB 2284, saying that she “has not yet taken up the bill.”