Arizona Repeals Medication Abortion Restriction While Threatening Medicaid Coverage for Reproductive Healthcare
PHOENIX, Az. — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill into law today repealing two medically unsupported restrictions on medication abortion that faced legal challenges from the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood, and the Center for Reproductive Rights.
The Governor, however, simultaneously dealt a blow to women by signing a bill designed to block low-income women’s access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare – including birth control and treatment for sexually transmitted infections – by threatening to remove abortion providers from the Medicaid program.
“The governor showed us today that Arizona politicians’ assault on access to reproductive healthcare is hardly over,” said Andrew Beck, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project. “While we celebrate that doctors in the state can now provide medication abortion according to the standard of care, make no mistake: Some politicians will stop at nothing to shame and stigmatize women and block access to care.”
One of the medication abortion restrictions repealed today required doctors to mislead women by telling them that it may be possible to reverse a medication abortion – a requirement that had been blocked as a result of litigation in federal court. The other restriction required doctors to use an outdated protocol for medication abortion that was inconsistent with both modern medical practice and the FDA's recently updated guidance.
“There is a pattern taking hold in Arizona of politicians forgoing the law in order to advance a particular ideology,” said Will Gaona, policy director of the ACLU of Arizona. “All women deserve high-quality medical care, free of interference from politicians playing doctor. When politicians threaten to obstruct access to high-quality care it is as immoral as it is unconstitutional.”
The newly enacted Medicaid restriction is designed to block doctors and healthcare organizations from providing care to any patients who qualify for Medicaid if the doctor or organization also provides abortions. In a letter to all 50 state Medicaid directors last month, the federal government underscored that such action is unlawful under longstanding federal law.