On April 27, 2021, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed into law Senate Bill (SB) 1457, which 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.
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.
SB 1457 passed the Republican-controlled Arizona House along party lines 31-29, and passed the Republican-controlled Arizona Senate along party lines 16-14, on April 22, 2021.
Arizona House Democratic leader Representative Melody Hernandez stated, “Republicans will use anyone as pawns in their relentless effort to waste millions in taxpayer dollars defending this blatantly unconstitutional law in court hoping that the Supreme Court will upend current precedent on this essential form of healthcare and grant a fetus more rights than the person who is pregnant.”
The ACLU of Arizona Policy Director issued the following statement: “We are deeply disappointed that Gov. Ducey went against the will of thousands of Arizonans who asked him to veto SB 1457. This legislation is unconstitutional and comes with serious consequences for people seeking abortions and health professionals who provide necessary medical care. SB 1457 will undoubtedly have unintended consequences for people who experience pregnancy loss of any kind and will force people to carry pregnancies to term against their will. We want to be very clear: abortion is still legal and protected under federal law. We will keep fighting to keep abortion accessible for all.”
Progress Arizona, which self-describes as “[p]romoting progressive issues and public policy solutions, correcting right-wing misinformation and holding elected officials accountable,” stated on its Twitter feed: “SB 1457 equates rights of fetuses and embryos with full personhood, taking away from the rights and freedoms of the person who is carrying the fetus in the first place. Using this language harms the people who seek abortion care by limiting their bodily autonomy.”
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