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Women's health providers challenge Arizona abortion restrictions

Lawyers for Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) [advocacy websites] filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday challenging an Arizona law [HB 2036 Materials] limiting the use of abortion-inducing drugs. Bryan Howard, the president of Planned Parenthood, stated [press release] that the regulation could deprive Arizona women of access to medication abortion altogether and goes against the advice of medical experts. Arizona's HB 2036 was signed into law [JURIST report] 2012 by Governor Jan Brewer [official website]. Though the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] ruled [JURIST report] that the laws ban on abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy was unconstitutional, the ban on abortion-inducing drugs is scheduled to go into effect on April 1, 2014.

There has been significant controversy surrounding reproductive rights [JURIST backgrounder] in recent months. On Tuesday, the Alabama House of Representatives passed a bill [JURIST report] that would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. Last month, the South Dakota House of Representatives passed a bill [JURIST report] that would prohibit individuals from having abortions based on the gender of the fetus. Also in February, the Mississippi House of Representatives approved a measure [JURIST report] banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. In January, the ACLU joined Planned Parenthood and CRR in a lawsuit [JURIST report] challenging a regulation in Alaska that seeks to prevent Medicaid from covering elective abortions.

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