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Planned Parenthood files lawsuit against Arizona over abortion laws

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PHOENIX — Planned Parenthood Arizona announced Thursday that it has filed a lawsuit against the state over three of its laws related to abortion.

“This lawsuit is targeting three specific restrictions on providing abortion care in Arizona,” Tayler Tucker, media relations manager for Planned Parenthood Arizona, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Thursday.

“These laws are harmful, they endanger patients, they end up pushing them further along in pregnancies and causing weekslong delays in terms of getting care, and they are not medically necessary.”

The organization said it is hoping to repeal a law that bans “advanced practice clinicians” like nurse practitioners from providing abortions and a law that requires patients to visit a clinic twice with a 24-hour mandatory delay before they are able to receive an abortion.

The group also wants to repeal a ban on telemedicine, which it says prevents access to early abortion services, especially in rural areas.

The organization said in a press release that these laws have contributed to extended waiting times for abortion services and a decline in abortion clinics that has left 80% percent of Arizona counties with no access.

“Planned Parenthood Arizona has always been about putting our patients first and caring for them. We’ve been in the state for 85 years,” Tucker said.

“And so this lawsuit is an extension of our way of promoting and protecting the health care and freedoms of the people that walk through our doors.”

Tucker said the group is confident the laws will be repealed based on legal precedent set in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a 2016 U.S Supreme Court case that concluded Texas could not create restrictions that create an “undue burden” on women seeking abortions.

The Arizona Republican Party responded to the lawsuit Thursday in a statement.

“Arizona is routinely ranked the most pro-life state in the country because of our sensible, compassionate laws that ensure all women are informed of their health care choices, while protecting the lives of the most vulnerable in society,” the statement said.

“With this dangerous lawsuit, Planned Parenthood is threatening to reverse policies that put women and children ahead of politics, revealing just how out of touch the nation’s largest abortion provider is with Arizona values.”

Republican Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich echoed the party’s sentiment.

“Planned Parenthood might be disappointed its business model is failing, but we’re talking about human beings, not appliances,” he said in statement.

“Planned Parenthood should work to change the law if it doesn’t like the policies, not rely on the courts to do its bidding.”

KTAR News legal analyst Monica Lindstrom said Arizona’s next step is to respond to the complaint and “start explaining why the rules are not violating women’s rights and the Constitution.”

“The court will need to weigh the burdens and the benefits of each of the sides and determine if the rules are, in fact, too burdensome,” she said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ashley Flood contributed to this report. 

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