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Limited abortion services return to Flagstaff

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Pro-life activists from Crossroads USA pray across from a Planned Parenthood clinic on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston in this July 2007 file photo. The U.S. Supreme Court June 24 agreed to hear a case challenging a 2007 Massachusetts law barring protests in 35-foot "buffer zones" around abortion clinic entrances, exits and driveways. (CNS photo/Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot)

Pro-life activists from Crossroads USA pray across from a Planned Parenthood clinic on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston in this July 2007 file photo. The U.S. Supreme Court June 24 agreed to hear a case challenging a 2007 Massachusetts law barring protests in 35-foot “buffer zones” around abortion clinic entrances, exits and driveways. (CNS photo/Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot)

 

Planned Parenthood’s two-year hiatus from offering abortion services in Flagstaff has ended.

The state’s largest abortion provider’s Arizona’s Flagstaff Health Center is now offering chemically induced abortions. Services resumed the week of Feb. 3 with a formal announcement Feb. 18.

“I was disappointed, but I wasn’t surprised,” said Rosanna Tarr, director of the Hope Crisis Pregnancy Center in Flagstaff.

The Center for Arizona Policy notified her late last year that two abortion clinics had been licensed. That also included Desert Star Family Planning, which opened in September near 15th and Glendale avenues in Phoenix.

Flagstaff’s Planned Parenthood stopped offering abortions in 2011 when law required that only licensed physicians can provide abortion pill services and that physicians had to meet face to face with patients. Beginning April 1, the abortion-inducing pill can only be dispensed in the first seven weeks of pregnancy. Planned Parenthood currently offers it up to nine weeks.

The 2012 Mother’s Health and Safety Act also requires physicians to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Ron Johnson, executive director of the Arizona Catholic Conference, the policy arm that represents the Catholic Church in Arizona, lauded recent pro-life legislation that has put a damper on the abortion business.

“We are very grateful for all the Arizona legislature and the governor have done in recent years to protect women and unborn children,” Johnson said. “It is unfortunate that Planned Parenthood has opened up another abortion facility in Flagstaff, but it is telling that because of our legislation in recent years, they can no longer hire nurse practitioners to do surgical abortions.”

The fact that nurse practitioners are barred from performing abortions has helped thwart Planned Parenthood’s efforts, Johnson said.

“It appears they’re having a very difficult time finding physicians to do this work, so again, that’s in large part because of the elected officials we have who are really trying to put in procedures that are going protect women and unborn children,” Johnson said.

The new abortion clinic standards, which take effect April 1, further require that signs are posted informing women that it is illegal for anyone to coerce them into the procedure.

Tarr doesn’t expect the reinstatement of chemically induced abortion to affect many of the 1,200 clients Hope Crisis Pregnancy Center sees each year. Some abortion-vulnerable women go to Phoenix for the procedures. Others change their mind once they see the limited ultrasound the center provides.

 

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