BREAKING: Gov. Ducey signs controversial abortion bill related to genetic abnormalities
Senate Bill 1457 makes it a felony for a doctor to perform the procedure because the fetus has a genetic abnormality such as Down syndrome, and contained other provisions.
PHOENIX, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed an anti-abortion bill that bans the procedure solely because a fetus has a genetic abnormality such as Down syndrome.
Doctors who perform an abortion solely because the child has a survivable genetic issue can face felony charges.
Senate Bill 1457 makes it a felony for a doctor to perform the procedure because the fetus has a genetic abnormality such as Down syndrome, and contained other provisions, including one that confers all civil rights to unborn children. Democrats call that “personhood” provision a backdoor way to allow criminal charges against a woman who has an abortion.
In addition to the ban on abortions for genetic abnormalities and the “personhood” provision, the bill bans mail delivery of abortion-inducing medication, allows the father or maternal grandparents of a fetus aborted due to a genetic issue to sue, and bans the spending of any state money toward organizations that provide abortion care.
The measure also requires fetal remains to be buried or cremated, and it forbids state universities from providing abortion care.
The bill was amended twice to allay the concerns of a pair of Republicans - one worried that a woman would be forced to carry a fetus that could not survive and a second concerned that a doctors’ medical decisions could be overruled by a jury. That GOP-backed amendment also clarified that the “personhood” provision does not ban in-vitro fertilization.
The Democrats issued a lengthy written rebuttal to the bill after the final amendment.
The measure was a top priority for the social conservative group Center for Arizona Policy. Its president, Cathi Herrod, routinely backs anti-abortion bills in the Legislature. National anti-abortion groups hailed its passage.
The following message is from the office of Gov. Doug Ducey:
Governor Doug Ducey today reaffirmed Arizona’s commitment to pro-life policies by signing legislation that expands protections for unborn children with a genetic abnormality.
“There’s immeasurable value in every single life — regardless of genetic makeup,” said Governor Ducey. “We will continue to prioritize protecting life in our preborn children, and this legislation goes a long way in protecting real human lives. My sincere thanks to Senator Nancy Barto for her leadership and work on this life-saving issue.”
Senate Bill (SB) 1457 makes it a Class 6 felony to perform an abortion solely because of a genetic abnormality, use force or threat to intimidate a person to have an abortion because of a genetic abnormality of the child, or accept or solicit money to finance an abortion because of a genetic abnormality of the child. The bill does not apply to cases where the child has a lethal fetal condition and does not prohibit abortion sought for other reasons allowed by law, including the life and health of the mother. The bill also ensures a woman will not be prosecuted for failing to properly care for herself or failing to follow a program of prenatal care, or against a person who performs in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures.
“We need to protect our most vulnerable, especially those with treatable genetic conditions,” said Senator Barto. “They are loved, integral members of our community that make Arizona whole — and I’m proud to sponsor legislation that gives them a voice before they’re even born. Thank you, Governor Ducey, for signing Senate Bill 1457.”
Under SB 1457, a person performing an abortion must complete an affidavit stating that the person is not aborting the child because of an abnormality. It also requires the doctor performing the abortion inform the woman that is it unlawful to perform an abortion due to the child’s race, sex, or genetic abnormality.
With this legislation, Arizona remains among the top pro-life states in the nation.
Governor Ducey’s action on SB 1457 comes days after he signed SB 1254, which ensures women have easy access to information about adoption and resources that are available to assist them during pregnancy.
Additionally, the Governor on April 9 signed HB 2410 to extend the time a baby can be delivered to a Safe Haven program from 72 hours to 30 days old.
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