House Votes to Allow Unannounced Inspections of Abortion Clinics

Mar 5, 2014

The state House voted Tuesday to allow health officials to conduct unannounced inspections of abortion clinics without first getting an administrative warrant. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer explains.

Rep. Juan Mendez opposed the Arizona House's vote that allows unannounced inspections of abortion clinics.
Credit Photo by Mario Mendez,

Rep. Debbie Lesko said state health inspectors can march in to virtually any other type of medical facility without prior notice or warrant.

“Why would an abortion clinic, and why would Planned Parenthood fight so much against this common sense bill? What is it that they have to hide?” Lesko asked.

But, Rep. Juan Mendez said the answer is the fact that abortion, more than any other legal medical procedure, has become highly politicized. He said that is why the U.S. Supreme Court has, in many rulings, carved out special privacy protections for both those performing the procedure and those having it done.

“Some of us may not like this constitutionally protected right. But, abortion services require a heightened sense of privacy specifically because of bills like this and the extremist agenda where they come from,” Mendez said.

If the measure now gets approved by the Senate and is signed by the governor there will be a lawsuit. Foes cited a 2004 federal appellate court ruling that the warrantless searches violated constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure. But, Lesko said the state’s regulatory landscape has changed since then and she believes the provision now would be upheld.