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Updated Apr 9, 2014 - 1:34 pm

Senate backs snap inspections of Arizona abortion clinics

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Senate has given initial approval to a bill allowing surprise inspections of abortion clinics without a search warrant.

Wednesday's voice vote means House Bill 2284 needs only requires a formal vote before heading to Gov. Jan Brewer. The bill has already passed the House.

Majority Republicans said the proposal was needed to ensure that abortion clinics can be inspected without delays that come from obtaining a search warrant.

Democrats argued removing the warrant requirement that has been in place for years would open clinics to harassment by unfriendly regulators. It also could open the state to even more lawsuits over its abortion rules. The requirement was part of a lawsuit settlement.

Democrats also said it is unnecessary, with only one warrant issued in the past four years.

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