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Ariz. court OK’s abortion restrictions

Associated Press / August 12, 2011

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PHOENIX - An Arizona appeals court ruled yesterday to allow key parts of a state law restricting abortions to take effect, including one that requires women to see a doctor in person the day before getting an abortion to hear about risks and alternatives.

The provisions have been on hold for two years after a state judge blocked them from taking effect in 2009.

But the Arizona Court of Appeals ordered the judge to lift his hold yesterday, saying the provisions are constitutional and do not put undue burdens on women seeking to end their pregnancies.

The provisions include a requirement for women to get so-called informed consent about risks and alternatives from a doctor in person before getting an abortion.

Currently, women are allowed to get that information over the phone from a doctor or a nurse practitioner.

The appellate court’s ruling also covers provisions banning nurses from performing surgical abortions and requiring parental consent forms to be notarized for minors getting abortions. Another provision expands an existing law that allows health care workers to refuse to participate in abortions for moral or religious reasons.

The new provisions could take effect as soon as a month from now but could be held up for more than a year if Planned Parenthood of Arizona files an appeal in the Arizona Supreme Court.

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