Arizona Governor Signs Bill Banning Women from Aborting a Fetus with Genetic Abnormalities

The bill also allows the father or the maternal grandparents of a fetus to sue the mother for an abortion, and outlaws sending abortion medication through the mail

Arizona abortion rights
Photo: Ross D Franklin/AP/Shutterstock

Arizona governor Doug Ducey signed a bill Tuesday that restricts the right to abortions, banning women from aborting a fetus with survivable genetic issues and allowing the biological father to sue a woman who aborts those fetuses.

Any doctor in the state who performs an abortion because of survivable genetic issues such as Down's syndrome or cystic fibrosis could face felony charges and prison time under the bill.

The measure initially failed in the Arizona State Senate earlier in April, but after the House and Senate agreed to an amendment, it passed and moved to Ducey to sign.

"Every life holds immeasurable value — regardless of genetic makeup," Ducey tweeted. "Arizona remains among the top pro-life states in the nation, and my sincere thanks goes to Sen. Nancy Barto for her leadership and work on this life-saving issue and to those who supported this bill."

State Democrats, the minority party, slammed the bill, unanimously voting against it. They said it only serves to further stigmatize abortions.

"This is truly a sad day in Arizona," state Rep. Jennifer Longdon, a Democrat, said in a tweet.

"Gov. Ducey's decision to sign SB1457 is not pro-life. It is anti-families, anti-woman, and anti-doctor," Democratic state Rep. Diego Espinoza of Tolleson tweeted. "I'm disappointed to see Arizona moving in this direction, ignoring the needs and desires of doctors, women, and families for an extreme political agenda."

Along with banning abortions for genetic issues and allowing fathers to sue, the bill also bans sending abortion medication through the mail, which the Food and Drug Administration has allowed during the COVID-19 pandemic; requires fetal remains to be buried or cremated and restricts state universities to spend money on abortion care.

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A spokesperson from Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona told Reuters that the organization is considering suing the state for violating Roe v. Wade.

"It's a really disappointing day for Arizonans throughout our state," Murphy Bannerman, also from Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, told "Yesterday we dropped off a petition of over 2,000 signatures urging the governor to veto this bill. There are number of reasons why people make these choices. It's not black and white, and it's frustrating because it's using the disability community really as a pawn."

The bill will go into effect 90 days after the Arizona legislature adjourns for the year.

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