Cathi Herrod and her Christian Taliban at the Center for Arizona Policy (CAP), and its legal arm ally the Alliance Defending Freedom, have once again convinced Tea-Publicans in the Arizona legislature to enact yet another unconstitutional and unlawful abortion regulation permitting unannounced warrantless inspections of abortion clinics for purposes of harassment and intimidation of abortion service providers and their patients. Arizona lawmakers OK plan for unannounced abortion clinic inspections:
[S]tate senators gave final approval to HB 2284 Wednesday to allowing unannounced warrantless inspection of abortion clinics.
The 17-13 party-line voice vote came after extensive debate about not just whether the law is needed, but whether it is really designed to harass abortion providers and their patients.
The House previously approved the measure on a near party-line vote of 34-22-4, with Democratic Rep. Lydia Hernandez (LD 29) voting with the Tea-Publicans, and Republican Kate Brophy McGee (LD 28) voting no with the Democrats. The “mythical moderate Republicans,” including Rep. Ethan Orr (R-Tucson), voted for this unconstitutional CAP bill.
Once again, the state of Arizona will be pissing away your tax dollars to defend yet another unconstitutional and unlawful measure on behalf of the extremist agenda of the CAP.
Brewer said Wednesday that she never comments on legislation until she sees it, but she conceded she has signed every new abortion restriction ever sent to her. “I am pro-life, and I believe that we have done a good job in Arizona,” she said.
Gubernatorial approval likely would toss the entire issue back into federal courts.
In a 2004 ruling, a federal appeals court voided an identical provision, saying the authorization of “boundless, warrantless search of physicians’ offices” by state health officials violates constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure.
That resulted in a consent agreement that said the state would first get a warrant.
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Sen. Katie Hobbs, D-Phoenix, said the fact remains that there can be unannounced inspections as long as the procedures are followed. And she said there’s a reason for that warrant requirement.
“Simply stated, the public and the providers who work at and utilize abortion clinics are subject to harassment from the public just for utilizing the services there,” she said.
Department of Health Services spokeswoman Laura Oxley said getting a warrant did not cause a delay the one — and only — time the department went through the abortion-clinic-inspection process last year. That inspection appears politically timed to coincide with HB 2284 in the legislature. Arizona abortion clinic search found care issues:
Planned Parenthood of Arizona is disputing state health investigators’ allegations that several record-keeping and patient-care shortcomings were found during a February search of its Glendale abortion clinic.
The clinic didn’t provide required licensing and certification records for two nurses and a health aide and did not perform required laboratory and ultrasound tests on a patient, according to a Department of Health Services statement of deficiencies record obtained by The Associated Press under a public records request. The clinic also didn’t properly monitor the woman’s vital signs in the recovery room.
But Planned Parenthood President Bryan Howard said clinic staff had all the required licenses and certifications, and they have now been provided to the Arizona Health Services Department. Howard also said in an interview Friday that the clinic properly monitored the patient and had the proper tests performed.
Howard wants all the allegations withdrawn.
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Planned Parenthood has questioned the timing of the warrant served on Feb. 10, the only one ever sought by the health department, because it came just days before House Bill 2284 had its first committee hearing.
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During the search, Health Services staff hauled off records of policies, compliance audits and a corrective action plan dated May 8, 2013. It also obtained records of two patients.
Howard said the staff records the health department cited as lacking would have been provided if inspectors had requested them. Instead, he said inspectors with a warrant seized “reams and reams” of documents.
“If we had known with any reasonable level of specificity what they were looking for, we would have been able to provide that documentation on the day they were there,” Howard said.
Howard also said staff properly monitored the patient in the recovery room, checking her vital signs every 15 minutes until she was stable, then less frequently as more time passed. He said the monitoring “deficiencies” were not based on state regulations, but on investigators’ improper reading of the clinic’s own policies.
He also said the health department’s finding that the clinic didn’t do required ultrasounds or laboratory tests was incorrect.
“We took labs and ultrasound images multiple times during the course of the care of our patient, far beyond what is required by law.” Howard said. “And the labs and ultrasound that are regulated are the ones required before the procedure, which are documented and in the chart.”
Planned Parenthood asked for a dispute-resolution meeting with Health Services officials, including Director Will Humble, in a letter dated April 2. That meeting has not yet been set.
The Arizona Republic’s E.J. Montini is spot on in his column today, Arizona: Where men are men and women are chattel:
On Wednesday, Republicans were pushing House Bill 2284, which would allow for unannounced inspections of any abortion provider, something that already can be done — with a warrant.
If the governor signs such a bill, there is likely to be a lawsuit, because warrantless searches are frowned upon by the U.S. Constitution. (A document not yet written in the sixth century.)
The inspection bill is all about frightening women, invading their privacy. As Brian Howard of Planned Parenthood Arizona told me awhile back, “If this were to become law, could it be used by DHS (Department of Health Services) as a form of intimidation and harassment? Yes.”
And that’s just one of the ways our lawmakers treat women like medieval wenches.
On Tuesday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an injunction temporarily preventing Arizona’s return to the Dark Ages.
The wording used in the ruling is a little different, of course.
The court stopped a 2012 law from going into effect. That particular law would have forced women seeking abortion services between the seventh and ninth week of pregnancy to go through a surgical procedure rather than one that is safer and non-surgical.
You can disempower Cathi Herrod and her Christian Taliban at the Center for Arizona Policy, and the Alliance Defending Freedom, simply by electing a Democratic governor and legislature in November.