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How Will New Arizona Abortion Law Affect Public Health Officials?

A controversial new state law took effect in Arizona on Jan. 1. Now, every woman seeking an abortion will be asked for a specific reason why — and doctors will be required to report what they say.

Women can decline to answer it, but the new law has raised outcry from pro-choice advocates who say it could discourage or shame women who want to have an abortion.

But proponents of the law say it’s goal is to provide more information to the state Department of Health Services.

According to Capitol Media Services, patients will now be asked some pretty specific things: Whether the abortion is elective or due to one of a list of medical conditions, whether they are being coerced into having the abortion or if they are the victim of sex trafficking or domestic violence.

It’s worth noting, though, that the health department didn’t propose or seek the new law. In fact, the agency registered as neutral on the bill.

So, what kind of affect could that information have for public health officials in the state?

For one perspective on that The Show got a hold of Dr. Sarah Roberts, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco. Her work focuses on developing an evidence-base to inform a genuine public health approach to abortion.

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Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.