Special Message from Planned Parenthood Arizona President and CEO Bryan Howard

bryan headshot 600In 2011, Planned Parenthood Arizona was forced to stop providing abortion care at a number of our health centers due to legislation that made the provision of this care nearly impossible. Our health center in Flagstaff was one of them.

For the past two-and-a-half years, women living outside of Pima and Maricopa counties have encountered miles of travel, days of wages lost, and several nights away from loved ones in order to access this safe and legal medical procedure. These barriers, created by politicians who have no business interfering with a woman’s personal medical decisions, were faced and overcome by many women — but not all.

After ending abortion care at our Flagstaff Health Center in 2011, we are grateful to have the opportunity to bring this care back to the community. The Flagstaff Health Center is once again providing medication abortion.

Here is a quote from Beth Otterstein, WHNP, our excellent health care provider at the Flagstaff Health Center who has served the community in her capacity for more than 20 years:

“Northern Arizona women who have come to our health center over the last two years have expressed heartache when they learned that abortion was not available in their community. These are the stories that kept us determined. We are fortunate to be able to once again serve the needs of women in this community.”

While this is good news for the women of Northern Arizona, it is important to remember that so many unnecessary barriers continue to exist for women throughout Arizona.

Policymakers are now targeting Planned Parenthood Arizona and other abortion providers in the state with a bill (HB2284) that would allow unannounced inspections of health centers by the Department of Health Services.

Abortion providers are already subject to a number of laws and regulations, including some that specifically pertain to inspections of health care facilities. This bill only further opens the door to harassment of abortion providers and goes too far, by allowing inspections without the safeguard of a warrant requirement.

For decades, Arizona was a state that protected a woman’s right to make personal decisions about her own health care. But for the last three years, we have been a state where politicians institute laws at the insistence of extreme ideological lobbying groups who do not provide medical services, and the result has been disastrous for women’s health and rights.

They won’t stop and neither will we.

Stand with us as we work tirelessly to ensure that women and their families have access to the tools and resources they need to lead healthy lives.