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Ninth Circuit to Hear Oral Argument Against Arizona's Regulation of Abortion Clinics

At 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 4, the Center for Reproductive Rights will argue before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that Arizona's abortion facility regulations deny equal protection to women who seek, and physicians who provide, abortions. Although a federal judge, in October 2002, struck down regulations that would have allowed Arizona's Department of Health to conduct warrantless inspections of abortion providers' offices, both providers and women who seek abortions still face burdensome regulations and violations of confidentiality.

Several states have passed similar regulations, known as Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers (TRAP). Such laws attempt to impose requirements on doctors who provide abortions that are different and more stringent than those applied to comparable medical practices. Regulations can range from the width of doorways to grass-free areas outside the clinic. Some of the Arizona regulations being challenged allow the Department of Health to review and copy patients' medical records in an abortion clinic without the patients' consent.

"All citizens in Arizona, including women seeking abortions, are entitled to privacy when it comes to medical records," said Bonnie Scott Jones, staff attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights and lead counsel on the case. "The State of Arizona cannot single out abortion providers by imposing unnecessary regulations on their facilities."

The Center is arguing this case on behalf of several abortion clinics and individual physicians in the state of Arizona. Arizona's abortion facility regulations were passed in 1999 but have never been enforced because the State agreed to enjoin the law pending resolution of the lawsuit. The law affects all doctors' offices and clinics where five or more first-trimester abortions are performed per month, or where any second or third-trimester abortion is performed.

Bonnie Scott Jones of the Center for Reproductive Rights represents the plaintiffs in Tucson Women's Clinic v. Eden. Plaintiffs include Tucson Woman's Clinic; Old Pueblo Family Planning; Abortion Services of Phoenix; Robert H. Tamis, MD, PC; and William Richardson, M.D.

WHAT: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to hear oral arguments in Tucson Women's Clinic v. Eden
WHEN: Thursday, December 4, 2003, at 9 a.m.
WHERE: United States Courthouse, Courtroom 3, 3rd Floor, 95 7th Street, San Francisco, CA