Arizona bill banning abortion based on genetic abnormalities signed into law

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed S.B. 1457 into law on Tuesday, banning abortions performed on the basis of genetic abnormality, sex, and or race of a fetus. The bill was championed by State Senator Nancy Barto and sponsored by Senators Paul Boyer, Rick Gray, Sine Kerr, Vince Leach, David Livingston, Warren Petersen, and T.J. Shope.

Upon signing the bill, Ducey said, “There’s immeasurable value in every single life — regardless of genetic makeup.”

Arizona’s Democratic State House delegation released a statement excoriating the Governor and legislative Republicans. They labeled S.B. 1457 as “unconstitutional forced-birth legislation” that could be considered “one of the most extreme abortion bans in the nation.”

Abortion law changes

S.B. 1457 criminalizes the performance of abortions on women as a class 6 felony if the abortion is being sought on the basis of the fetus’ sex, race, or genetic abnormality. The bill explicitly protects women receiving an abortion, even if they conspire to receive an abortion, from charges. Abortionists will be facing felony charges for the performance of abortion within these parameters.

The bill defines abortion as “the use of any means to terminate the clinically diagnosable pregnancy of a woman with knowledge that the termination by those means will cause, with reasonable likelihood, the death of the unborn child.” It excludes birth control usage, oral contraceptive usage, invitro fertilization, termination of an ectopic pregnancy, and the removal of a dead fetus from the womb.

Women seeking abortion-inducing drugs will only be able to receive said drugs from a qualified physician, and not via mail or courier service.

Beyond these provisions, S.B. 1457 makes it a class 3 felony for coercing a woman to receive an abortion because of a fetal genetic abnormality, and or “soliciting or accepting monies to finance an abortion because of a genetic abnormality of [a] child.”

Fetal personhood

S.B. 1457 also establishes formal fetal personhood, dictating that “Arizona law [is] to be interpreted and construed to acknowledge, on behalf of an
unborn child at every stage of development, all rights, privileges and immunities available to other persons, citizens and residents of Arizona, subject only to the U.S. Constitution and decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Public educational institutions

Arizona public educational institutions, encompassing community colleges, state universities, school districts and their schools, charter schools, accommodational schools, and Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and Blind, are banned from performing abortions unless the abortion is deemed to be necessary to save a woman’s life.

Other provisions

S.B. 1457 has numerous other provisions, but among the more important is the mandate that the remains of an aborted fetus must be either cremated or interned. Such provisions have been passed into law in other states, such as Tennessee, where a Republican State Senator defended the legislation saying, “It’s not fetal tissue, it’s dismembered children.”

To read the full text of the bill, click here.

Published by Joe Pitts

Joe Pitts is the Editor-In-Chief and co-founder of the Western Tribune.

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