Arizona House Approves Revised, Post-Veto Ban on Partial-Birth Abortions
by Steven Ertelt
April 23, 2008
Phoenix, AZ (LifeNews.com) — The Arizona House has approved a revised partial-birth abortion ban that takes into consideration some of the supposed problems Gov. Janet Napolitano had with it that caused her to veto the bill earlier this month. The measure now heads to the Senate and then back to the governor if approved there.
The House backed SB 1048 on a 31-24 vote.
The new bill addresses the two concerns the governor identified in her veto letter about the state measure’s conformity to federal law.
Napolitano said she wanted the state version to have a two-year cap on prison time for abortion practitioners who use the gruesome abortion method.
She also wanted abortion practitioners to be able to get an opinion from the state medical board stating the abortion method was needed to save the life of the mother in such rare cases — though doctors have testified the three-day-long abortion procedure would never be necessary to protect a woman’s life or health.
During the debate, Rep. Warde Nichols told the chamber that he opposes abortion because he was almost a victim.
According to anEast Valley Tribune news report, Nichols’ mother almost had an abortion but didn’t do so because Arizona’s pre-Roe abortion ban had not yet been overturned.
"This is human life we’re talking about here, not a choice," he said.
Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy, says the governor’s objections to the partial-birth abortion ban should be satisfied and she should sign the bill into law.
"SB 1048 bans the horrific practice of partial-birth abortion in Arizona and addresses the two concerns Governor Napolitano mentioned in her veto letter of the first ban passed by the legislature," she told LifeNews.com.
Ron Johnson of the Arizona Catholic Conference also told LifeNews.com he is pleased the measure is moving forward.
"The newly amended SB 1048 makes the aforementioned changes in an attempt to eliminate any of the governor’s stated objections," Johnson said. "It is hoped that the new bill will make its way through the legislature and get to the governor in about two weeks."
Arizona pro-life advocates are hoping to get state officials to help with enforcement with the passage of a state ban.
Anyone who does a partial-birth abortion can be convicted by the federal ban the Supreme Court upheld last year, but state and local prosecutors would be better able to go after violations with a state law.
With the vetoing of the ban and another bill to strengthen parental consent requirements Napolitano has now vetoed every piece of abortion legislation that has come across her desk — seven pro-life measures in total.
The Governor is establishing a track record of being one of the most pro-abortion governors this country has ever seen, said Herrod.
Arizona initially approved a partial-birth abortion ban in 1997, but a federal judge declared it unconstitutional. The attorney general filed an appeal but Napolitano dropped the case when she took over as the state’s top attorney.
President Bush signed the national partial-birth abortion ban into law in 2003 and abortion advocates took it to court in three separate lawsuits. Federal courts in each case relied on the Supreme Court’s decision in 2000 and declared the ban unconstitutional.
Much of the debate revolved around whether a partial-birth abortion is ever medically necessary.
Dr. Anthony Levatino, a Las Cruces, New Mexico OBGYN who formerly did abortions in New York, says a partial-birth abortion is a three-day-long process and would never be a medical procedure a doctor would need to use to protect a woman’s health.
"The way you end a pregnancy to save a woman’s life is to deliver the (baby)," Levatino said. "If you wait three days to do a partial birth abortion, she’s going to end up in the morgue."
ACTION: Contact Governor Napolitano with your complaints about the vetoes. View this page for contact information.