Arizona abortion providers are skirting re-established limits on the practice in the wake of state and federal judges declining requests to put new legislation on hold, a state policy think tank president said.
The Center for Arizona Policy‘s Cathi Herrod posted a statement on the local conservative tipsheet Republican Briefs, “At least one Arizona abortion ‘clinic’ is now reportedly giving pregnant women ultrasounds to determine gestational age, then facilitating a telehealth appointment with a California doctor, who then sends the abortion pills to a post office in a California/Arizona border town to be picked up by the expectant woman.”
Another abortion ‘clinic’ reportedly has been referring women to a doctor in another country with the abortion pills then being mailed to an Arizona woman from India. Still, others are raising funds to pay for women to travel to other states for abortions. One abortionist sends women to his facility in Las Vegas for abortions.
After the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade, Judge Kellie Johnson to lifted a decades-old injunction limiting most abortions. And Arizona’s new law prohibiting abortions after 16 weeks, which went into effect this month, has survived requests for injunctions.
Nonetheless, some doctors and clinics who specialize in the controversial practice have been finding ways around the new limits.
According to a report from ABC News, Camelback Family Planning in Phoenix has women obtain an ultrasound from their clinic, then conduct a telehealth appointment with a California doctor who writes them a prescription, which is then mailed to a post office in California near the border. Prior to that, the clinic was going through a doctor in Sweden to prescribe the pills, which were mailed from India, taking up to three weeks. Arizona law bans the mailing of abortion medication.
Herrod criticized the lack of an in-person visit with patients prior to an abortion, arguing that abortion pills have significant consequences and women need an in-person exam and follow-up care. “The plan for abortion pills shows a stunning disregard for the health and well-being of the mother,” Herrod told the Associated Press (AP).
Camelback Family Planning said the Abortion Fund of Arizona, which is located next to the clinic, is covering the cost. The clinic’s website states at the top, “We are open and offering abortion services up to 15.0 weeks!”
Planned Parenthood is also helping fund women who need to travel to obtain abortions. Their website currently states, “Abortion in Arizona is currently legal. We will resume abortion care as quickly as we can.”
Another AP article reports that California Planned Parenthood is considering opening another clinic to accommodate new demand from other states restricting abortion. California Access Reproductive Justice said 10 of the 63 people it helped in August were from Arizona. A doctor who practices in both Arizona and Nevada said regarding his Nevada clinic, “We’ve gone from rarely seeing an Arizona patient to you know, 2 or 3 on one day and maybe 9 or 10 on another day.”
A.R.S. 13-3603 calls for two-to-five years in prison for any abortion provider, with an exception to save the life of the mother.
Camelback Family Planning’s blog contains an article entitled “Should physicians ignore the Texas Abortion Law? The only answer is yes.” Arizona’s law states that “A person who provides, supplies or administers to a pregnant woman, or procures such woman to take any medicine, drugs or substance, or uses or employs any instrument or other means whatever, with intent thereby to procure the miscarriage of such woman, unless it is necessary to save her life, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not less than two years nor more than five years.”
The definition of “procure” includes “to bring about, especially by unscrupulous and indirect means.”
The Arizona Sun Times asked Planned Parenthood of Arizona for comment but did not receive a response by press time.
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