For Immediate Release
ACLU and Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence Challenge Law that Withholds Critical Resources for Women’s Health
Extreme Law Withholds Resources from Organizations that Provide Abortion Referrals or Counseling
PHOENIX - The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit today against a law that would exclude any nonprofit organization that provides abortion referrals or counseling from receiving donations through the state’s Working Poor Tax Credit Program. The law is so broad that it could prevent groups from even discussing abortion or other reproductive health services with women in crisis.
The ACLU filed the suit along with the ACLU of Arizona and the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence (AzCADV).
“At a time when assistance for the poor and underserved is so crucial, this bill aims to take existing resources away from the most vulnerable and to limit their access to information and services,” said Alessandra Soler Meetze, executive director of the ACLU of Arizona. “That’s not only a violation of the First Amendment, it’s cruel.”
The Working Poor Tax Credit Program allows taxpayers to claim a credit on their state tax returns if they make a donation to organizations that serve low-income Arizona residents. However, this new law prohibits an otherwise qualified organization from participating in the program, if the organization provides referrals for abortion.
“Extreme political opposition to abortion is no excuse for depriving women of essential information and services,” said Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “This law is just part of a nationwide effort to take resources away from organizations that provide critical health care and services to women.”
Organizations that serve survivors of partner violence and sexual assault in particular would be hurt by this law. Many victims of domestic violence have experienced a range of sexually abusive behaviors, including rape, which can lead to unwanted pregnancy. It is essential that a woman overcoming a violent relationship be able to make her own health care decisions. Survivors of domestic and sexual violence deserve to have access to a full range of information and options when escaping an abusive situation.
“This bill puts organizations that serve women in desperate need between a rock and a hard place,” said Allison Bones, executive director of AzCADV. “Programs that serve victims of domestic violence should not have to choose between much-needed donations and the ability to provide comprehensive, uncensored care to the women they serve.”
Attorneys on the case include Daniel Pochoda of the ACLU of Arizona and Kolbi-Molinas and Brigitte Amiri of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project.
More information on this case can be found at:
This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.
Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Won't Exist.
Please select a donation method:
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.