Governor Jan Brewer lengthened her pro-life record today by signing a bill that would ban abortions that are sex-selection or race-based in nature by targeting girls or ethnic minorities.
The legislation would ban sex-selection abortions and require women seeking abortions to sign a statement saying they are not obtaining the abortion because of the gender of the unborn baby. The bill also prohibits abortions based on the race of the unborn child. The father of the unborn child or the parents of a minor girl would be able to file a lawsuit for civil damages against abortion practitioners that do race-based or sex-selection abortions.
The bill makes it a felony to provide financing for such an abortion and supporters of the measure say it is important to root out discrimination that comes in the form of destroying unborn children for gender or racial reasons.
Abortion advocates opposed the bill and claimed it was a way to works towards banning all abortions and they claim there is no evidence in Arizona that such abortions are performed.
Although the practice of sex-selection is frequently seen in Asian nations like China, India and Vietnam, it has crossed the Pacific Ocean as Asian immigrants have come to the United States and brought with them their cultural preference for sons.
A majority of the Arizona House of Representatives agreed to the bill and voted for House Bill 2443 on a 41-18 vote. Then, the state Senate added a provision to make it a felony to perform or provide financing for an abortion sought because of the race of the baby, the sex, or also the race of the parent. The House bill did not include the criminal penalties and only allowed a civil lawsuit and civil fines against abortion practitioners who did such abortions.
The Senate passed the bill 21-5 and the House voted to the changes the state Senate made.
Brewer has signed every pro-life measure on abortion she has received during her time as governor.
Sen. Don Shooter, a Republican, supported the measure and cited figures from the Frederick Douglass Foundation saying 30 percent of abortions are done on black women and children even though census figures show blacks make up a much lower percentage of the population.
Rep. Steve Montenegro, the sponsor of the bill, said, “No one should be subjected to abortion because they’re the wrong sex or race.” Montenegro pointed to a 2010 Economist magazine article on “gender-cide” that documented a bias against black babies and said many abortions on black babies are done because of the race of the child.
Sen. Linda Lopez, a Tucson Democrat, opposed the bill and called banning sex-selection and race-based abortions “offensive.”
Senate President Russell Pearce responded: “We have an obligation to protect the most innocent among us, the unborn. Whatever we can do to limit the number of deaths of these unborn children, I’m always a ‘yes’ vote.”
U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, an Arizona congressman, also supports the bill and has been pushing for similar legislation on the federal level. “Sex-selection abortion is a growing tragedy in our state,” he said in a letter Montenegro read to his colleagues.