Arizona Bill Tackles Teen Abortions, Informed Consent, Protects Pro-Life Medics
by Steven Ertelt
February 12, 2009
Phoenix, AZ (LifeNews.com) — A pro-life state legislator has put forward a comprehensive bill that would tackle three abortion issues. With pro-life Gov. Jan Brewer replacing pro-abortion Gov. Janet Napolitano, who took an Obama administration position, pro-life groups hope the bill will finally become law.
HB 2464 tackles the problem of judges rubber stamping the waiver for teen abortions that is supposed to be a very rare process reserved for abuse situations.
The bill also strengthens the informed consent rights of a woman considering an abortion by giving her more information on its risks and alternatives.
Finally, the measure further protects the civil rights of health care professionals not to participate in abortion or dispense drugs that would result in an abortion.
Rep. Nancy Barto, a Phoenix Republican, is the main sponsor of the bill and she says the latter part of the measure is intended to protect "rights of conscience" for health care workers.
That has some abortion advocates upset, including House Minority Leader David Lujan, a Democrat who tells AP that portion of the bill will make it hard for women to get birth control or the Plan B drug.
"Certainly, people in rural areas are accustomed to traveling long distances for services," Barto said in response. "This isn’t going to keep women from receiving these prescriptions."
When it comes to teen abortions, the measure would make it more difficult for a teenager to get a judicial waiver that would allow an abortion without her parents knowing or approving.
A pregnant teen would have to prove to a judge that she is "sufficiently mature" to comprehend the ramifications of having an abortion without her parents knowing. The teen would otherwise need a written, notarized consent from a parent or guardian.
The bill also includes a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion that has helped give women in other states sufficient time to consider the alternatives and has lowered the number of abortions.
The bill also makes it a crime to do an abortion without possessing a license to practice medicine.
That portion is important because Arizona currently has no law either direction on whether anyone other than a licensed physician can do an abortion in the state. Most states across the country require doctors for abortions.
Planned Parenthood nurse Mary Andrews has done abortions at its Tucson facility since 2001 — which was kept under wraps until a recent complaint filed against her.
The legislation combines several pro-life measures that Napolitano vetoed in recent years into one bill.
Groups like the Center for Arizona Policy and Arizona Right to Life support the bill.
Ron Johnson of the Arizona Catholic Conference does as well and he said, "We believe these are very commonsense, middle-of-the-road ideals that most Arizonans agree with."
Related web sites:
Arizona Legislature – https://www.azleg.gov
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