Arizona House Committee Passes Omnibus Bill With Pro-Life Limits on Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
February 25, 2009
Phoenix, AZ (LifeNews.com) — An Arizona state House committee on Wednesday passed an omnibus bill with several pro-life provisions that would limit and reduce abortions. The bill could become law now that pro-abortion former Gov. Janet Napolitano is no longer standing in the way of common sense legislation.
With pro-life Gov. Jan Brewer replacing 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 that the House Health and Human Services Committee endorsed with a 5-0 vote. Napolitano had vetoed individual bills covering each of the measures the omnibus legislation includes.
Republican members of the panel supported the pro-life bill and pro-abortion Democrats refused to attend the hearing, resulting in no votes against the bill.
Several pharmacists told the panel they support the provisions providing for a conscience clause saying it would protect their civil rights not to be forced to dispense drugs that could cause abortions or violate their religious or moral beliefs.
Brewer spokesman Paul Senseman said Wednesday the governor has not taken a position on the bill, but she has repeatedly said she is pro-life and has told pro-life groups she supports the various abortion limits the bill contains.
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.
Rep. Frank Antenori, a Tucson Republican who backed the bill, told the Arizona media that he didn’t understand why anyone would oppose it.
I don’t see why anybody should be opposed to this bill, he said. It seems like a commonsense thing to me.
But Rep. Phil Lopes, a Tucson Democrat, said he and other Democrats opposed the bill and boycotted the hearing because they say the measure is a first-stop in prohibiting abortions.
And Candace Lew, a Planned Parenthood Arizona leader, called provisions to provide women with more information about abortion’s risks and alternatives "insulting" to women.
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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