PHOENIX – Republicans who control the Arizona Senate on Tuesday voted to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, seeking to impose a new ban ahead of a long-awaited U.S. Supreme Court ruling that could bring seismic changes the availability of abortion in the United States.
The vote came amid objections from minority Democrats, who said the measure was unconstitutional under the iconic Rowe v. Wade court and other Supreme Court rulings that the Supreme Court could overturn. They also said that any ban would disproportionately affect poor women and women from minorities who will not be able to travel to democratic states without strict abortion laws.
But Sen. Nancy Bart, a sponsor of the bill from Republicans, said she hopes the Supreme Court will uphold the Mississippi law, which bans abortion, in 15 weeks.
“The state is obliged to protect life, and this is what this bill is about,” Barto said during the debate. “A 15-week-old baby has a fully formed nose, lips and eyelids in the womb, and his thumbs are sucking. They are in pain. That’s what this bill is about. ”
Arizona already has some of the country’s most restrictive abortion laws, including one that will automatically outlaw it if the high court completely overturns Rowe, a nearly fifty-year-old ordinance that enshrined a nationwide right to abortion.
Republicans hope to impose a 15-week ban so that it will take effect soon if the Supreme Court further restricts the right to abortion, but does not stop to completely repeal Rowe. This measure accurately reflects Mississippi law.
Under current abortion regulations, abortion is legal as long as the fetus can survive outside the womb, which is usually about 24 weeks.
Democrat Senator Martin Quezada pushed Bart to the state of the law today, taking Rowe and a number of subsequent decisions that enshrine a woman’s right to abortion.
“I understand the hopes that the Supreme Court will do on your part,” Kezada said. “But is this law now constitutional or not?”
“I believe so. I believe so, ”Barto said. “I believe that our constitution clearly stands for life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness, and the first part of that is life.”
Kezada, who represents part of Glendel, said it was just wrong.
“If we expect what the Supreme Court is doing, let’s wait for what the Supreme Court is doing before we start trying to change these laws,” he said. “Otherwise you’re spinning our wheels.”
He also noted that Arizona low-income residents, who already have difficulty accessing health care, will be affected by the 15-week ban.
“Instead of making this type of care more accessible to these people, we are making it harder for them to access it,” he said. “So the reality is that we make life difficult for the people who need help the most in our society.”
The bill is now moving to the state House of Representatives, where most Republicans also regularly support restrictions on abortion. When you get there, he reaches the governor, Doug Dusi’s table. The Republican opposes abortion and has signed all relevant bills that have come to his table over the past seven sessions.
Barto’s account would have committed a crime if the doctor had had an abortion in 15 weeks, but would have banned the prosecution of women for having had an abortion. Doctors may be charged with a felony and lose their medical license. There are exceptions for cases where the mother is threatened with death or serious permanent injury, but not for cases of rape or incest.
Of the 13,186 abortions performed in Arizona in 2020, 636 were after 15 weeks of pregnancy, according to the latest data from the Arizona Department of Health.
A proposal to repeal Texas law, which actually bans abortion in six weeks, was also made in Arizona, but has not progressed in the legislature. The measure is unique in that it allows individuals to file civil lawsuits against anyone who helps someone have an abortion in six weeks. This has complicated legal issues because the government is not involved in enforcement.
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