The Arizona Republican-led State Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would ban abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy, with an exception for medical emergencies.
SB 1164 passed the State Senate by a vote of 16-13, with all Republican members voting in favor, and now heads to the State House.
The legislation is modeled after a Mississippi law that also bans abortions past 15 weeks and is now before the U.S. Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case that poses the most significant challenge in decades to the right to abortion created by the Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade.
“We know from looking inside the womb, technology has given us a great gift to see what we all know instinctively, and that is life begins at conception and as it grows you see more and more of the humanity of the unborn child,” said the bill’s sponsor, Arizona State Senator Nancy Barto (R), according to Fox 10 Phoenix.
The bill’s fact sheet states the measure “classifies, as a class 6 felony, a physician’s intentional or knowing violation of the prohibition on abortions past 15 weeks gestational age.”
According to the summary, a medical emergency is defined as “a condition that, on the basis of the physician’s good faith clinical judgement, so complicates the medical condition of a pregnant woman as to necessitate the immediate abortion of her pregnancy to avert her death or for which a delay will create serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”
The legislation also defines a “human being” as “an individual member of the species homo sapiens, from and after the point of conception.”
Women seeking abortions after 15 weeks are prohibited from being prosecuted, according to the bill.
Planned Parenthood condemned the bill’s approval by the Arizona Senate, stating “when people are denied abortions, their long-term well-being – and that of their families, including their children, if they have them – suffers.”
“That burden falls disproportionately on Black, Indigenous, and Latino communities, who, because of systemic white supremacy in employment, housing, and public resources, are more likely to have low incomes and struggle to access healthcare,” the abortion business stated.
Brittany Fonteno, CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona, Inc. also said:
Arizona politicians are banking on the Supreme Court upholding Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban so they can quickly strip Arizonians of their rights and begin enforcement. It’s a cowardly path to a cruel end — denying Arizonians the right to make their own healthcare decisions.
But, Cathi Herrod, Esq., president of the pro-life Center for Arizona Policy, said the vote in the State Senate “acknowledges science” and “humanizes laws”:
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 after the Arizona Senate passed SB 1164 by a party line vote of 16-13-1.
“With this vote, these senators fall more in line with a majority of lawmakers in countries throughout the world who limit abortion after the first trimester,” Herrod added. “This vote acknowledges medical and technological advancements revealing the humanity of preborn life.”
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