Arizona house legislators passed a bill Monday that would ban health insurance coverage of abortion through insurance plans purchased through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The legislation included an amendment requiring abortion providers inform patients that a medication abortion can be reversed, despite no substantiated medical evidence to support the claim.
SB 1318, sponsored by Sen. Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix), includes a requirement that physicians who provide abortion care provide the state Department of Health Services documentation to prove they have hospital admitting privileges.
Arizona already mandates that physicians providing abortion care obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic or facility in which abortions are performed.
An amendment offered by Rep. Darin Mitchell (R-Litchfield Park) was added to the legislation that would keep from public record personally identifiable information of a physician that is received by ADHS and any records kept regarding the physician’s admitting privileges.
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The bill passed 33-24, mostly along partisan lines after two hours of debate. Rep. Christopher Ackerley (R-Tucson) was the only Republican to vote against the bill.
Rep. Regina Cobb (R-Kingman) was one of the lawmakers opposed to the provision that required physicians to inform patients that a medication abortion is potentially reversible. Cobb said the procedure has not been studied, and was worried lawmakers were adding unproven medical procedures to state law.
“We just don’t know the causes or what could happen after the medication has been given,” Cobb said, reported the Arizona Republic. Cobb, despite her objections, voted for the bill.
Reproductive rights advocates have raised concerns that legislative support for medication abortion reversal, including having the protocol seemingly endorsed by the state health department website, is potentially medically dangerous.
“It is just insulting to her intelligence to imply that she isn’t capable of making a decision and following through with that decision,” NARAL Arizona board member Gabrielle Goodrick told Rewire this month. “We trust women can make their decisions as consenting adults.”
SB 1318 now returns to the senate, where lawmakers can either pass the version as amended in the house, or it will be referred to a conference committee to reconcile the bills. Once passed by the senate or conference committee, the bill will be sent to Gov. Doug Ducey (R) for signature or veto.