May 24, 2022

15-week abortion ban passed by Republican-led Arizona Senate

As the nation awaits a potentially pivotal abortion ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court, the state Senate in Arizona just passed a measure prohibiting pregnancy terminations after 15 weeks gestation, as The Hill reports.

As the outlet noted, Senate Bill 1164 was approved by a vote of 16-13, and it provides that any medical provider conducting an abortion beyond the 15-week cutoff is subject to the possible loss of medical licensure and could face up to one year of incarceration.

Of note is the fact that the Arizona legislation does permit abortions past 15 weeks if the mother’s life is deemed in jeopardy or at serious risk of permanent injury due to the pregnancy, and the bill bans the prosecution of women who undergo abortions after that same period of time, as Breitbart explained, though, as at least one Democrat lawmaker pointed out, there is no exception for cases of rape or incest.

The bill’s Republican sponsor, Sen. Nancy Barto, expressed her hope that the U.S. Supreme Court upholds a similar Mississippi law currently being deliberated by the justices, and explained the rationale behind Arizona’s measure, as NBC News noted.

“The state has an obligation to protect life, and that is what this bill is about. A 15-week-old baby in the womb has a fully formed nose, lips, eyelids, they suck their thumbs. They feel pain. That’s what this bill is about,” Barto said amid formal debate on the measure.

Republicans in Arizona aimed to enact the ban now in order for it to take effect in rapid fashion should the nation’s high court put limits on the right to abortion but fail to fully overturn the landmark decision in Roe v. Wade when it hands down a decision in the aforementioned Mississippi case.

“A ruling in that case is expected in June. This measure makes Arizona ready to enforce that law if and when that decision is made,” Barto noted.

Brittany Fonteno, CEO of Arizona Planned Parenthood, registered her disappointment with the bill’s passage, declaring, “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 health care decisions.”

As NBC News noted, Arizona currently has some of the most stringent abortion laws in the country on its books, including a law that would abolish the procedure entirely if Roe is indeed overturned, but for now, all anyone on either side of the issue can do is wait until the nine justices render their highly-anticipated decision later this year.

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