The number of abortions in Arizona is down – sharply – in the wake of new laws restricting the procedure.

Figures provided by the state health department show 729 pregnancies were terminated medically last month. That compares to 1,069 the month before – and an average of more than 1,200 a month in the prior year.

Those new laws include prohibitions on abortions by anyone other than a doctor and requiring a woman to have a face-to-face conversation with a doctor at least 24 hours before the procedure….

“It’s 100 percent due to the shortage of providers,” [Bryan Howard, president of Planned Parenthood Arizona] said. Now he said doctors must perform both surgical and medical abortions as well as be available for those face-to-face consultations.

The new regulations, which took effect last month, has resulted in Planned Parenthood now offering abortions only in [three] sites. Abortions had previously been available at 10 sites around the state.

Planned Parenthood is the state’s largest abortion provider. Howard said 653 of the 729 abortions in September were performed by PP.

“That means something like 400 [pregnant women] have had their life substantially disrupted,” Howard said.

Howard said some may have left the state to get care or found other doctors who perform “off-the-record” abortions. But other women, he said, are going to have to carry the pregnancy to term.

“It means that 400 real children at the end of those pregnancies are going to be born into families that may have, at very realistic levels, said that, ‘We can’t afford another mouth to feed,’ or ‘I can’t afford child care.'”

~ Howard Fischer, Yuma Sun, October 12

[Top Howard photo via]

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