Arizona Senate Passes Bill to Ban Abortions After 15 Weeks, Saving Hundreds of Babies

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 15, 2022   |   7:02PM   |   Phoenix, Arizona

The Arizona Senate advanced legislation Tuesday that could protect hundreds of unborn babies from violent abortion deaths every year in the state. On a party line vote, with Republicans voting pro-life and Democrats voting pro-abortion, the chamber voted to pass a ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

Sponsored by state Sen. Nancy Barto, R-North Phoenix, Senate Bill 1164 would make it illegal to abort an unborn baby after 15 weeks of pregnancy except in medical emergencies when the mother’s life is at risk. Abortionists who violate the abortion ban could lose their medical license and face felony charges.

“We need to look at this issue how lives can be saved, and this is the next step, a very common sense way of saving lives in Arizona,” Barto said.

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Sen. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, sponsor of the measure, said she sees no problem with that. “The baby inside of a woman is a separate life and needs to be protected,” she said. “All life is sacred.”

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Barto, however, is counting on the U.S. Supreme Court using the challenge to a Mississippi law to overturn those precedents. That would leave the question of which abortions are legal up to individual states.

If it passes, the bill could save hundreds of unborn babies’ lives every year. According to state health statistics, 669 unborn babies were aborted at 16 weeks or later in 2019.

Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod praised the vote and told LifeNews that babies need protecting.

“Preborn babies at 15 weeks gestation have fully formed noses, eyelids, and lips, as well as developing hearts, kidneys, and other organs. They suck their thumbs, and they feel pain. Today, those babies are one step closer to protection,” she said. “A 15-week limit on abortion would not only save lives, it would protect women from the emotional and physical harms of later term abortion.”

“At 15 weeks gestation, the preborn baby does flips, hiccups, and has regular sleep patterns, according to expert testimony. These babies deserve our protection; their mothers deserve the truth, and they are worthy of protection from the trauma, regret, and pain of abortion – also testified to in committee,” she added. “If the U.S. Supreme Court in Dobbs upholds Mississippi’s 15-week limit, Arizona should be ready to follow suit and protect the lives allowed under law.”

Barto’s bill is similar to a Mississippi law that the U.S. Supreme Court currently is considering. Many hope the case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, will prompt the justices overturn Roe v. Wade and allow states to protect unborn babies from abortion again.

Currently, states are prohibited from banning abortions before viability, about 22 weeks of pregnancy.

At the committee meeting Thursday, pro-abortion lobbyists with Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union urged lawmakers to reject the bill, claiming that abortions “save lives,” according to Fox 10.

“We know that abortion is not just about legality,” ACLU lobbyist Victoria Lopez said. “It is about our dignity, our humanity and our freedom. It is about saving lives.”

Abortions killed more than 13,000 unborn babies in Arizona in 2019. Polls consistently show strong public support for banning abortion after the first trimester.

This week, the Florida legislature also advanced a similar ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

TAKE ACTION: To support this pro-life legislation, please contact your Arizona state lawmakers.