Arizona Senate Passes Bill Banning Abortions on Babies With Down Syndrome

State   Steven Ertelt   Mar 4, 2021   |   7:15PM    Phoenix, Arizona

The Arizona Senate gave final approval Thursday to a pro-life bill that would ban discriminatory abortions on unborn babies with genetic abnormalities such as Down syndrome.

Senate Bill 1457, sponsored by state Sen. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, passed the second of two votes in the Republican-controlled Senate and likely will now advance to the House. Republicans approved the measure in a 16-14 party-line vote on Thursday. Her bill also would prohibit dangerous abortion drugs from being delivered by mail and prohibit public schools from referring students for abortions. It would require that the remains of aborted babies be buried or cremated as well.

The pro-life measure also ensures that abortion drugs cannot be shipped through the mail, prevents taxpayer dollars from being sent to organizations that promote abortions, and requires dignified and respectful treatment of the remains of aborted children.

Barto talked about the pro-life benefits of the legislation.

She told LifeNews: “This bill is vital for strengthening Arizona in a pro-life direction. We are one of the nation’s most pro-life states, but there is more to be done. SB 1457 does a lot, but first and foremost, it protects preborn children with genetic abnormalities from being singled out for abortion based on their disability. It also protects women by stopping dangerous chemical abortions by mail. Women deserve better than to have their health gambled to benefit the abortion industry’s bottom line. I hope and pray our legislature does the right thing and passes this bill quickly.”

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“Arizona is a strongly pro-life state and we’re proud to see lawmakers acting on the will of the people to advance this bold legislation,” said SBA List State Policy Director Sue Liebel. “Across the nation, momentum is growing to humanize our laws and protect our most vulnerable children, including babies diagnosed with Down syndrome before birth who are all too frequently targeted for lethal discrimination. Among other crucial protections, this bill also stops the abortion industry from turning every post office and pharmacy in Arizona into an abortion center in the event that the Biden administration rolls back FDA safety regulations on these dangerous drugs.

“We thank our friend State Senator Nancy Barto for sponsoring this important bill, as well as Cathi Herrod and all our pro-life allies who are working tirelessly to see that it reaches Governor Ducey’s desk. We urge their House colleagues to swiftly follow suit.”

Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod added: “If Arizona House members follow the Senate’s lead and also pass SB 1457, women here won’t have to worry about being left alone to fend for themselves with a mail-in, do-it-yourself abortion pill that is four times more dangerous than a surgical abortion, leaving women at risk of bleeding to death, among other things. This bill would ensure the abortion pill could not be sent through the mail, circumventing safety regulations, including critical doctor visits.”

If enacted, the bill would make it a crime to abort an unborn baby because he or she was diagnosed with a genetic disorder. Exceptions would be allowed if the mother’s life is at risk. Arizona already prohibits discriminatory abortions because of an unborn baby’s race or sex.

Some Democrat lawmakers opposed the legislation, arguing that it is unconstitutional and abortion is none of the state’s business. State Sen. Sally Ann Gonzales, D-Tucson, said she opposed the bill for her 15 daughters and granddaughters, according to the report.

“I’m extremely opposed to any one of us legislators imposing our faith on everybody else and on my family,” Gonzales said. “We should not be doing this.”

Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion group in the U.S., also opposes the bill. A spokesperson described it as just another “cruel attempt” to restrict abortions.

Abortion discrimination occurs at an alarming rate, and it is getting worse with advances in prenatal testing.

The Telegraph reports about 90 percent of unborn babies who test positive for Down syndrome in the United Kingdom are aborted. A recent report in the European Journal of Human Genetics found that the number of babies with Down syndrome born in the UK dropped 54 percent since the non-invasive prenatal screening tests became available about a decade ago.

Recent reports in The Atlantic and CBS News found that nearly 100 percent of unborn babies who test positive for Down syndrome are aborted in Iceland, 95 percent in Denmark and 77 percent in France. A 2012 research study estimated two of every three unborn babies with Down syndrome are aborted in the U.S.

Parents frequently report feeling pressured to abort unborn babies with Down syndrome and other disabilities. One mom recently told the BBC that she was pressured to abort her unborn daughter 15 times, including right up to the moment of her baby’s birth. Another mother from Brooklyn, New York said doctors tried to convince her to abort her unborn son for weeks before they took no for an answer.

South Dakota and Florida also are considering similar laws to ban abortions on unborn babies with Down syndrome and other disabilities.