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  • Grace Garcia

New Abortion Legislation in Arizona Challenges Roe V. Wade

Updated: Mar 19, 2021

Republicans in the Arizona Legislature advanced a pair of bills on February 17th that were backed by anti-abortion groups. One of these bills would ban a doctor from performing an abortion just because the fetus has a genetic abnormality, such as Down Syndrome. It would also allow a father or maternal grandparents to sue on behalf of the fetus. Additionally, the fetus remains would have to be buried or cremated.

Republican Senator Nancy Barto of Phoenix said her proposal protects the most vulnerable and restores dignity to aborted fetuses by requiring that they be buried or cremated. Barto’s proposal also states that if doctors perform abortions due to genetic abnormalities, they will face between two and nine years in prison. Exemptions may be granted in the case of medical emergency. The proposal also bans Arizona from funding organizations that provide abortion care, while also banning universities from providing abortion care.

Abortion-rights advocates testified against the proposal, calling it an unconstitutional intrusion on a women’s right to have an abortion. A physician also testified that it would go against the First Amendment rights of doctors to honestly provide medical advice to their patients. Dr. Julie Kwatra, a Scottsdale OB-GYN and legislative director for the Arizona section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said, “No physician should have to practice the specter of the risk of going to jail for doing our jobs. We need to talk to our patients freely and give them all their options in an appropriate level of standard care.”

This bill was officially passed last Thursday, with Republicans approving it in a 16-14 party-line vote.

The second bill, proposed by Republican Michelle Udall, would send $3 million to a program designed to persuade young women not to seek an abortion. It would also set up a “family health pilot program, " which supports childbirth as an alternative to abortion and helps mothers get the support they need.

The House gave preliminary approval to this bill.

An Arizona lawmaker, Republican Walt Blackman, known for his hard stance on abortion, has also introduced legislation requiring prosecutors to charge women who opt to end their pregnancies, and the doctors who help them do it, with homicide.

Blackman argues that “my body my choice” does not matter because if you are going to kill another human being. This legislation would expand the definition of a “person” to include “an unborn child in the womb at any stage of development.”

These are just a couple of Anti-Abortion bills that are being considered or have been passed in Arizona.

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