Arizonans gathered at the state capitol last week to ask lawmakers to vote down proposals that appropriate state tax dollars to facilitate internet spying on women and present censored information to those seeking health care.

The mirror bills being considered in the House and the Senate would require the 2-1-1 information and referral system to block information about any health services provided by organizations that also provide abortion care. This would censor out vital services like mammograms, STD testing and treatment and gynecological services. It would also block hospitals and their affiliated clinics and resource centers from being listed, leaving Arizonans seeking all kinds of care without key resources in their community.

APS, SRP, Valley of the Sun United Way, and United Way of Northern Arizona sponsor the 2-1- 1 system, operated by the Crisis Response Network. “It’s hard to believe APS and the other organizations would support censoring information going forward, so I worry that we would lose all private funding,” said Senator Lisa Otondo (D- LD4). In 2018, the top request to 2-1-1 was for assistance paying electricity bills.

The bills also appropriate $3 million in state funds over two years to a new “family health pilot” that is modeled after disastrous pilots in Texas and North Carolina in which a Texas-based group called “The Human Coalition” spied on internet searches of women to bombard them with social media ads and incomplete medical information to change their decisions about their pregnancies.

“Arizonans are looking for protections for their data and internet privacy,” said Darrell Hill, Policy Director, ACLU of Arizona. “This bill goes in the opposite direction. It uses our public tax dollars to fuel predatory, exploitive, and incredibly invasive data collection and tracking of women.”

The North Carolina health department reports that the pilot program “cannot be identified as evidence-based or even a best practice.” The Human Coalition failed to provide complete reporting to the state with information about results and the organization fails to meet the standards of the Better Business Bureau for responsible, ethical charities.

Organizations opposed to the bills include: The Alliance of Arizona nonprofits, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Arizona, The Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, the Arizona National Organization for Women, the Arizona Public Health Association, Planned Parenthood , Protecting Arizona’s Family Coalition and the Secular Coalition for Arizona.

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