The Arizona state House today followed the state Senate in approving legislation to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy after it received strong support from pro-life organizations.
House members passed the bill by a 37-22 vote and abortions after that time period would not be allowed except in very rare cases of medical emergency. The bill also requires abortion facilities to allow women to have an ultrasound of their unborn baby at least 24 hours prior to having the abortion. In many cases women change their minds about a planned abortion after seeing the images of their developing child.
Matthew Benson, a spokesman for Governor Jan Brewer told Reuters the governor has a “strong and consistent pro-life record,” but Brewer has not yet said publicly if she will sign the legislation now that it has cleared the state legislature.
Americans United for Life president Charmiane Yoest praised the Arizona House for approving the measure calling it “a life-protecting bill designed to ensure that women don’t suffer from the risks of a dangerous, late-term procedure.” She said Arizona is the first in the nation to pass a late-term ban based on concerns over protecting women’s health by demonstrating that abortion is not only bad for the unborn child, it is also bad for women.
“The abortion industry’s war on women has left many injured people behind. This ban will protect women’s lives, despite the best efforts of the abortion industry to block reasonable limits on a procedure that becomes more dangerous with each passing month,” said Dr. Yoest. “Medical evidence demonstrates that abortion can cause serious physical and psychological complications—and the risk of those complications raises dramatically later in pregnancy. By prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks, the Arizona Legislature has taken a vital step toward protecting the health of women in Arizona. I urge Governor Brewer to sign the bill into law.”
Yoest said the abortion industry commonly hides the sometimes deadly consequences of late-term abortions. She said the findings of fact included with the bill lay out some of the risks of late-term abortions, including higher medical risks and higher short-term and long-term physical and psychological complications.
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Sen. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, is the main sponsor of HB 2036 and she cited testimony of a doctor who said that a 20-week fetus has sensory receptors all over its body. She also said there is evidence that the later along a pregnancy, the greater the chance of complications for the mother.
But Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Phoenix claimed the information is not correct and the bill was merely an attempt to make it more difficult for women to get abortions.
Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, detailed what happens at different stages of fetal development and said, “This debate is about life and it’s about a small, tiny, little life form that has no voice to speak for itself.”