Arizona Bans Funding to Planned Parenthood in Abortion Fight

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Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer signed into law on Thursday a controversial bill that bans most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, giving Republicans a win in ongoing national efforts to impose greater restrictions on abortion.
Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer signed into law on Thursday a controversial bill that bans most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, giving Republicans a win in ongoing national efforts to impose greater restrictions on abortion.

PHOENIX (Reuters) - Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on Friday signed into law a bill banning abortion providers like Planned Parenthood from receiving money through the state, her office said in a statement.

The Republican-backed Whole Woman's Health Funding Priority Act cuts off funding for family planning and health services delivered by Planned Parenthood clinics and other organizations offering abortions.

By signing this measure into law I stand with the majority of Americans who oppose the use of taxpayer funds for abortion, Brewer said in a statement.

Arizona joins six other states with similar laws, officials said. But three of those states -- Indiana, Kansas and North Carolina -- are facing legal challenges.

Arizona does not provide tax dollars for abortion, but backers said the law is needed to make sure that no indirect monies are funneled to organizations like Planned Parenthood that provide abortion and other health services. There were no estimates of how much money is involved.

But officials at Planned Parenthood Arizona, the state's largest abortion provider, said the law means that thousands of women in the state may now go without life-saving cancer screenings, birth control and basic health care.

We are most concerned about the women and men who could be forced to go without health care as a result of this bill, Bryan Howard, Planned Parenthood Arizona's president and CEO, said in a prepared statement.

We remain committed to providing Arizona communities with the professional, nonjudgmental and confidential health care they have relied on for 78 years, Howard said.

The anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List called the bill a major victory in its fight to bar funding of abortion providers.

Abortion-centered businesses like Planned Parenthood do not need or deserve taxpayer dollars, Marilyn Musgrave, vice president of government affairs for the organization, said in a written statement.

While Planned Parenthood suffered a setback in Arizona, it won a temporary battle in court on Friday with Texas. A federal appeals court ruled that the organization could participate in a health program for low-income women in Texas, despite a new state rule there that bans affiliates of abortion providers.

(Editing by Tim GaynorDan WhitcombGreg McCune and Lisa Shumaker)

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