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January 19, 2010

Change in Arizona's Political Landscape Has Real Consequences for a Woman's Right to Choose

State's grade in annual national report on reproductive rights drops from a B- to a D+

Phoenix, Ariz. – Kathren Coleman, affiliate manager of NARAL Pro-Choice Arizona, called the outrageous drop of Arizona's grade in a new national report on reproductive rights yet another example of how a change in the state's political landscape can lead to real – and in this case, dangerous – consequences for a woman's right to choose.

"As the 2010 legislative sessions begins in Arizona, it's clear that the departure of pro-choice stalwart Janet Napolitano from the governor's mansion underlines the importance of electing leaders who stand up for a woman's right to choose," Coleman said. "Arizona's new anti-choice governor is a willing participant in attacks on women's privacy – a complete reversal of former Gov. Napolitano's legacy as a defender of pro-choice values. Women are worse off today in Arizona than they were at this time last year, and that is simply unacceptable."

NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation's 19th annual Who Decides? The Status of Women's Reproductive Rights in the United States is the nation's most comprehensive report with analysis and tracking of choice-related legislation and court decisions. The report cites Arizona as enacting a far-reaching law that includes a litany of anti-choice provisions that, among other things, subject women to state-mandated lectures and waiting periods that delay access to abortion care. The law also allows individuals and entire health-care corporations or entities to refuse to provide abortion services and to refuse to provide or dispense contraceptives. After a 2009 legislative session that included enactment of a litany of anti-choice measures, Arizona's grade dropped from a B- to a D+. A court enjoined some provisions of the law in September 2009.

"Arizonans are tired of divisive politicians like Gov. Jan Brewer," Coleman said. "We would like to see a leader advance Arizona's grade by improving access to health-care and protecting the right to privacy, but unfortunately, Gov. Brewer would rather use her office to pacify her far-right base and undo years of Gov. Napolitano's leadership, all at the expense of women's freedom and privacy."

The full report and additional up-to-the minute information can be found online.

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