This week, I had the opportunity to testify in support of a strike-everything amendment for SB 1169.* In effect, what this bill will do is clarify that the Board of Nursing, which was created by the state Legislature to provide rules and regulations for Arizona’s nurses, is subject to the authority of the Legislature.

This seems like common sense – like an employer clarifying that he is in charge of his employees. But, unfortunately, this is necessary after the Board made a ruling that nurse practitioners could perform surgical abortions, even though state law already says they cannot. Based on the Board’s unlawful ruling, the Arizona Nurses’ Association has filed a brief in court arguing that the court should strike down the state law.

The Legislature has made several laws that prohibit non-doctors from performing abortions because of the importance of protecting the health and safety of women in Arizona. The first was passed in 1999 as part of regulations after Lou Anne Herron died in an Arizona abortion clinic. Two additional specific laws were passed in 2009 in response to the Board of Nursing’s contrary ruling. At least forty-one other states have similar laws.

SB 1169 is simply reasserting the Legislature’s authority over this issue in light of the argument the nurses are making in court. The Legislature is clarfiying who is really in charge.

After I spoke in favor of the bill, Planned Parenthood rolled out their tired talking points, that abortion is “safe” and that this bill was “anti-woman.” Of course that ignores the obvious fact that the sponsor is a woman and many of its most ardent supporters are women (like me) who care deeply about the harm that abortion does to women. I encourage you to view the comments of several of the representatives on the committee who did a great job of explaining why this bill is necessary and why Planned Parenthood’s attacks are completely irrelevant.

*A strike-everything amendment adds entirely new text to a bill, often on a different subject than the original bill.

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