Planned Parenthood, located at 1250 E Apache Blvd Suite 108 in Tempe is pictured on Wednesday, April 6, 2016. Photo by J. Bauer-Leffler | The State Press
Over the past weeks, Gov. Doug Ducey took action on a number of new women’s healthcare laws, causing students and community members to voice their concerns about the abortion restrictions put in place by the legislation.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, there were 13,404 abortions in Arizona in 2012. In that vein, the goal of the bills, Ducey said, was to reduce the number of abortions in the state and “protect human life.”
“The right to life is fundamental,” Ducey said in a statement. “And these reforms are consistent with my track record of supporting common-sense initiatives that promote the health and safety of Arizonans and protect precious human life.”
The bills, which will limit abortion medication use, Planned Parenthood donations and embryo research, have piqued the interest of students who advocate for sexual health and abortion access.
“I feel like it’s especially relevant to college students,” nursing freshman Jesse Duran said. “There are so many people that are sexually active.”
The three bills were signed March 30 during a push to roll legislation out before the current legislative session ends at the end of this month.
One bill will limit the time frame in which patients can use the popular abortion medication Mifepristone. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration guideline allows doctors to administer the drug up to 10 weeks after pregnancy, the bill only allows for doctors to administer the drug up seven weeks after pregnancy.
Civil engineering junior Emily Lauber, the president of Voices for Planned Parenthood at ASU, said the medication only works if news of pregnancy is discovered early.
“Medical abortions are a common and safe option for college students,” Lauber said. “Going from 10 to 7 weeks can make a dramatic difference for a college student who may not realize they are pregnant or may not be able to schedule or pay for an abortion on short notice.”
Because the FDA issued its guidelines that contradict the legislation the same day that Ducey signed the bill, Ducey said there will likely be a revision to the bill before it is enacted during the summer.
Another bill restricts state employees from donating to Planned Parenthood, one of Arizona’s largest abortion providers.
“Why are politicians that have never been to med school telling doctors how to do their jobs?” Lauber said. “This does not happen to other medical practices, only for reproductive care because it’s clearly not about healthcare and more about political gains.”
After the release and subsequent investigation of last year’s video released by activists that accused the organization of selling aborted fetuses for research, lawmakers across the nation have cracked down on legislation restricting research on fetuses.
As part of this recent string of legislation was the third bill Ducey signed last week that limits research done on aborted fetuses, which will only be used to determine the health of the fetus or mother. The bill also bans research on an embryo intended to be aborted along with making donation of aborted fetuses for scientific research illegal.
These bills will take action 90 days after the end of the legislative session.
Though controversial, not all students have taken up arms on the issue, nonprofit leadership management freshman Aleesa Sells is one student who’s looked at the issue.
“Although I personally don’t think aborting a potential life is right morally, it’s up to other women to live by their own morals at the end of the day,” Sells said.
According to a statement released by Ducey’s Office, the state will continue its efforts to approve pro-life legislation.
“It is a responsibility I will not take lightly,” Ducey said in his statement. “I will continue to support efforts that affirm the protection of the preborn.”