Enforcement of new Arizona abortion laws on hold
Newly enacted restrictions on abortion services in Arizona, especially those in several small cities, are being put on hold before they take effect while a judge considers a legal challenge.
Judge Richard Gama of Maricopa County Superior Court told lawyers during a hearing Wednesday that he’ll block enforcement of the new laws pending an Aug. 22 hearing on a challenge filed last week by Planned Parenthood Arizona.
The new laws being challenged were to have taken effect July 20 along with most other laws approved by the Arizona Legislature during its 2011 regular session.
The laws include ones to require clinics that perform medication abortions to satisfy state requirements on personnel, equipment, facilities and procedures that previously were imposed only on clinics that perform surgical abortions.
Others include prohibiting nurse practitioners from performing medication abortions, which account for about half of the abortions performed in Arizona, according to state data.
Planned Parenthood, the state’s largest abortion provider, says the new laws would shut down abortion services in Flagstaff and Yuma and severely restrict them in Prescott, forcing women to travel to Phoenix or Tucson to get abortions.