For those of you who don’t remember or haven’t read our previous entry on the topic, the Arizona Consent Act is an intrusive piece of legislation passed by the Arizona government back in 2009. It requires in person counseling 24 hours before having an abortion, notarized consent by parents of patients under 18 and allows only licensed physicians to perform abortions. Planned Parenthood sought and was granted an injunction against it; however an appeals court overturned the injunction by stating that placing “some burden” on people seeking abortions is totally acceptable in spite of constitutional rights to abortion. The regulations could not go into effect until Planned Parenthood decided if they would take the matter to the Arizona Supreme Court. They decided not to pursue an appeal at the state Supreme Court Level. On Monday of this week a Maricopa County Superior Court judge entered a court order that officially ends the petition against the regulations.
The implementation of these regulations created an immediate shortage of qualified abortion providers. Nurse Practitioners and physician’s assistants have a similar rate of success and lack of complications, but since the Arizona courts felt this was irrelevant, they are now no longer able to provide abortion care. CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona is quoted as saying “One of the impacts of the ruling was the prohibition of nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants from providing abortion care… At least at Planned Parenthood, about half of the abortion patients we were seeing were being seen by nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants… they are no longer allowed to provide that care despite having done so for literally a decade with a safety record equal to that of a physician’s.”
In my opinion the worst part of this is still the required NOTARIZED parental consent forms. Many states have parental consent requirements and while I disagree with them on principle I can see why even advocates for pro-choice equality would support them; abortion can be a surgical procedure and surgery is a scary word. What I cannot wrap my head around is requiring the parental consent forms to be notarized. As I am still unable to find any evidence to the contrary and have yet to be corrected, I can only conclude that notaries in Arizona are not bound by any kind of confidentiality laws. Given this fact, even the most staunchly pro-choice families would have to worry about stigma in granting their daughter permission to have an abortion because they have no way to know her private medical decisions would not be leaked to their community by the notary they went to. This should not ever be a concern, no matter what medical procedure you are having done. Be it a check up, appendectomy, breast reduction or abortion it is never anyone’s business aside from the patient and their doctor. It is appalling that this regulation was allowed to stand.