Back in 1999, a law was passed and signed (ARS § 36-449.01 36-449.02 36-449.03) that required ADHS to license and inspect abortion providers if they provide 5 or more first-trimester abortions in a month or if they provide any 2nd or 3rd trimester abortions as an abortion clinic. Hospitals were exempted.
The Tucson Women’s Clinic sued the ADHS director (Cathy Eden) to prevent the Department from implementing the inspection program, arguing that there were a number of problems with the new law. The District Court decided that some of the new law was legal but some of it wasn’t. The next stop in the case was the Appellate court, which reversed some of the District Court decisions and sent the case back (remanded the case) to District Court. Some of the issues that they instructed the court to deal with included record access, the redaction of records, the Department’s ability to conduct unannounced inspections, and a regulation that required abortion providers to submit copies of fetal ultrasound prints to a private contractor and the Department.
After the remand, ADHS worked with the Tucson Women’s Clinic to negotiate a stipulated settlement which eliminated some of the requirements and added a regulation that provided the Department only strictly regulated access to patient records. Eventually, a stipulation agreement was reached. The US District Court approved the Stipulation of Settlement in September of 2008 and we began the process of writing a Rule to implement the 1999 statute.
A couple of weeks ago, the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council passed our rule package with the inspection requirements. The new rules are posted in the Arizona Administrative Register, November 6, 2009 (15 AAR 1822). Last week we filed a Motion to Vacate the previous court orders, which would allow us to begin licensing and inspecting abortion clinics. Now that the court has approved our request, our licensing division is beginninglicensing and inspection programs to enforce the new rules on November 1, 2010.