Arizona Governor Signs Bill Banning Abortions After 15 Weeks of Pregnancy with Rare Exceptions

No Democrats in the state’s legislature voted for the bill, which does not include exceptions for victims of rape or incest

Doug Ducey
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. Photo: Matt York/AP/Shutterstock

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill banning abortions in the state after 15 weeks of pregnancy on Wednesday, with no exceptions for victims of rape or incest.

Ducey, a Republican, has signed every bill aimed at restricting abortions during his eight years as governor, according to the Arizona Republic, with this being the strictest yet. Under the new law, which passed through Arizona's legislature with no votes from Democratic lawmakers, doctors who perform an abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy could be prosecuted for a felony and could lose their medical license.

There are no exceptions for victims of rape or incest, but in cases of life-threatening medical conditions or anything that creates "serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function" to the mother, it could be allowed.

"In Arizona, we know there is immeasurable value in every life — including preborn life," Ducey wrote in a letter after signing the bill. "I believe it is each state's responsibility to protect them."

Arizona Sen. Nancy Barto, a Republican who sponsored the bill, said in a statement that the bill limits the "horrors of abortion."

"We won't stop fighting until every preborn child is protected, but this is a step in the right direction," she said.

Arizona's bill mimics Mississippi's ban on abortions after 15 weeks, which is in violation of the right to abortion set by the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade. The current Supreme Court is in the process of hearing arguments about Mississippi's ban, and the newly conservative-leaning bench could overturn the right to abortion by the end of their session in June.

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Abortion rights supporters such as NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood decried Arizona's ban.

"The people of Arizona don't want this abortion ban. Medical professionals in Arizona are against this ban. Nobody asked for this. But Arizona politicians — including the governor today — are willfully ignoring both public opinion and science with the sole goal of stripping constituents of their constitutional rights," Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said in a statement. "With this ban in effect, countless Arizonans and their families will suffer."

Along with this ban, Arizona has several other abortion restrictions in place, including a mandatory 24-hour waiting period and a required pre-abortion ultrasound.

The ban will go into law 90 days after the Arizona legislative session ends, which is typically at the end of June.

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