- The bill was signed by Governor Ducey on April 26 which was approved by the legislature
- The bill was originally drafted for medical professionals conducting abortions due to genetic flaws
- The signed bill denounced as unconstitutional by the opponents
The Senate Bill 1457 will come into effect 90 days after legislature adjourns
Every country has its own abortion law that states several procedures inducing or carrying out an procedure as legal or illegal based on various factors like health, present health condition of the mother and the child, financial status, etc. While various countries have declared abortion as an illegal process, several countries have banned unsound measures under which abortions are sought.
Recently, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed anti-abortion bill banning the procedure if it sought by any woman solely because the fetus is detected with genetic flaws unless considered lethal. Governor Doug Ducey signed the anti-abortion bill on 26 April, which was approved in Arizona’s Republican-controlled legislature along strict party-line votes during the last week. The bill declares it a felony for a medical professional to conduct abortion on the sole reason of genetic abnormalities in the child.
The Senate Bill 1457
According to the sweeping anti-abortion law, the Senate Bill 1457, no woman can opt for abortion on the basis of genetic disorders in the fetus like Down syndrome or cystic fibrosis. Doctors found performing an abortion solely because the fetus possesses a genetic abnormality will be faced with felony charges and could face prison statements under the newly enacted statute. The measure also makes it a felony to threaten or intimidate a woman into opting for pregnancy termination on grounds of genetic flaws or to accept or solicit money to pay for such an abortion.
The bill is due to take effect 90 days after the legislature adjourns for the year. The measures mentioned in the bill are not applicable in cases where the genetic variation or condition has been declared lethal to the fetus or to abortions sought for any other reason allowed by the state’s laws, including protection of health and life of the mother.
According to the new law, any doctor who performs an abortion has to complete an affidavit attesting/declaring that the woman is not aborting the fetus due to an abnormality. It also requires the physician to inform the mother that abortions based on a child’s race, sex or any genetic disorder are illegal.
Republican and Opponent’s response to the law
The Senate Bill 1457 moved through the Legislature in rounds, before moving again after stalling twice, amidst intense pressure by abortion opponents on GOP lawmakers who opposed some of its provisions. It finally made through both chambers last week and was signed by governor Ducey on 26 April, 2021.
The law has been denounced as medically unsound and unconstitutional by the opponents. A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona said that group and others are weighing a legal challenge. She added that support from Governor Ducey, who has never vetoed an abortion restriction and calls himself “proudly pro-life”, was the least expected.
Commenting on the newly enacted law, Governor Ducey, a republican serving his second term as the governor of Arizona, stated that, “There’s immeasurable value in every single life – regardless of genetic makeup. We will continue to prioritize protecting life in our preborn children, and this legislation goes a long way in protecting real human lives.”
Further measures passed by the Bill
The abortion bill originally declared it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion because the fetus has a genetic abnormality such as Down syndrome, containing a slew of other provisions, including one that confers all civil rights to unborn children. Calling that a “personhood” provision, Democrats stated it as 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 also bans mail delivery of abortion-inducing medication, allowing the father or maternal grandparents of the aborted fetus on grounds of genetic abnormalities to sue the authorities in-charge, and a ban on the funding of the state towards 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.
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