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Friday, June 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

State Gets Nosy With Pro-Choice Advocate

PHOENIX (CN) - The ACLU of Arizona has demanded that state health department officials hand over copies of complaints about people who perform unlicensed healthcare services after the director of a pro-choice organization was falsely accused of providing healthcare services in her home.

Kat Sabine, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Arizona, received a letter in October from Arizona's Department of Health Services, claiming that she was providing services in her house that required healthcare licensing and threatening to inspect her home.

The agency provided her with no information about the basis of the allegation, and dropped the complaint after receiving a letter contesting the claim from ACLU of Arizona Legal Director Dan Pochoda.

Arizona enacted a law this year - House Bill 2284 - which allows surprise visits at abortion clinics without a search warrant.

"Over the last few years, I have rallied against legislation targeted at reproductive health care providers," Sabine said in a statement.

"During this year's legislative session, when our officials passed a law that allowed warrantless inspections of reproductive health clinics, I sounded the alarm, warning the public that such a law could be abused to intimidate health-care providers and invade women's privacy. Little did I know the state would turn around and target advocates like me."

NARAL Pro-Choice Arizona provides community education services on reproductive choices and mobilizes pro-choice voters. The state's letter did not question the services provided at the organization's business location - only at Sabine's house.

The ACLU seeks copies of any complaints filed against individuals accused of performing healthcare services without a license, any records attached to those complaints, and any training materials provided to staff charged with following up on the complaints.

"Abusive enforcement of Arizona's warrantless inspection law further erodes women's expectation of privacy," said Alessandra Soler, executive director of the ACLU of Arizona. "Women should not fear intimidation or harassment by their government when making reproductive health choices."

House Bill 2284 was sponsored by the Center for Arizona Policy, introduced by Republican Rep. Debbie Lesko, and signed into law by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer in April.

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