Arizona Senate panel OKs proposal to ban abortions for Down Syndrome

Feb 4, 2021, 5:30 PM

PHOENIX (AP) — A proposal that would make it a felony in Arizona for a doctor to perform an abortion because the fetus has a genetic abnormality such as Down Syndrome was approved by a state Senate panel on Thursday. The measure also adds a slew of other provisions to the state’s already tough anti-abortion laws.

Republican Sen. Nancy Barto of Phoenix said her proposal protects the most vulnerable and restores dignity to aborted fetuses by requiring that they be buried or cremated. It also repeals an old law allowing women to be charged for seeking an abortion, which Barto said was needed in case the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 decision that found women have a constitutional right to seek an abortion.

“This bill will stop abortions solely based on the child’s genetic abnormalities,” Barto said. “My bill also protects Arizona women. They deserve more than to have their health gambled to benefit the abortion industry’s bottom line.”

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee all opposed the measure, which they said intrudes on a woman’s right to make health decisions in consultation with her doctor.

“This will definitely chill that kind of medical advice because a doctor is potentially facing up to 8 years in prison for informing his patient of these abnormalities,” Tucson Democratic Sen. Kirsten Engel said.

Doctors who perform abortions because the mother decides she does not want to carry a child with a genetic abnormality could face between two and nearly nine years in prison. There are exceptions for medical emergencies. The proposal also confers all civil rights to unborn children, allows the father of an aborted child to sue, and bans the spending of any state money with organizations that provide abortion care, while banning state universities from providing abortion care.

Another provision bans abortion-inducing medication from being delivered by mail. Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy, which pushes anti-abortion bills each year at the state Legislature, claimed medical abortions are more dangerous than surgical ones.

“There’s a nationwide push to send abortion pills through the mail,” Herrod said. “Women who take chemical abortion pills are four times more likely to have complications than those that have surgical abortions.”

The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice group that advocates for access to safe abortions, disputes Herrod’s claim that medication abortion is more dangerous.

“The attacks we are seeing on medication abortion have nothing to do with safety, it’s about politics, as the evidence shows that the risk of complications for abortion, including medication abortion is extremely low,” said Elizabeth Nash, a spokeswoman for the organization.

Planned Parenthood also opposes the bill.

“This bill is about restricting abortion care and banning abortion, and it’s not about protecting those with disabilities as the sponsor would lead us to believe,” said Marilyn Rodriguez of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona. She called it “a cruel attempt to yet again limit abortion, this time by targeting families who seek this option after learning their fetus has developed a disability.”

The proposal is one of several introduced in the Republican-controlled Legislature this year, including one that would require prosecutors to charge women who decide to get abortions and the doctors who perform the procedures with homicide. That proposal from GOP Rep. Walt Blackman has not been assigned to a committee.

Republican-dominated Legislatures in several states who have been emboldened by the possibility that a more conservative Supreme Court could overturn the Roe decision have embraced proposals that could completely ban abortion this year.

For instance, lawmakers in South Carolina are considering a “heartbeat bill” that would effectively ban abortion because most women are unaware they are pregnant before a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Pexels Photo)...

Valley contractor owes employees $2.6M in wages, damages in settlement

A Phoenix-area construction contractor agreed to pay $2.6 million in back wages and damages as part of a settlement reached last month, authorities said.
21 hours ago
President Joe Biden tours the building site for a new computer chip plant for Taiwan Semiconductor ...
Associated Press

President Joe Biden touts economic plan at TSMC chip plant in north Phoenix

President Joe Biden on Tuesday visited the site for a new computer chip plant in Phoenix and touted his economic plan.
21 hours ago
(Facebook File Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...

Child killed in 2-vehicle collision on Thomas Road in central Phoenix

A child is dead and three other people are in the hospital after a collision in central Phoenix on Tuesday morning, authorities said.
21 hours ago
(Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)...

Special counsel investigating Trump sends subpoena to Valley elections officials

A federal investigator wants know what Donald Trump and his surrogates said to Maricopa County elections officials before and after the 2020 election.
21 hours ago
(Unsplash Photo)...

Pecking orders from Chandler expand rules on keeping backyard chickens

Families in a Phoenix suburb will be counting their chickens, but only up to five, after the city government approved backyard chickens.
21 hours ago
(KTAR News File Photo)...
Kevin Stone

Police say possible gun at Scottsdale school was just computer equipment

The student who reported a possible gunman at a Scottsdale high school last week actually saw somebody carrying computer equipment, police said.
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
Arizona Senate panel OKs proposal to ban abortions for Down Syndrome