Ducey signs SB1457 Abortion Criminalization Bill

SOURCE: Maria Polletta, state politics reporter for AZCentral, Arizona Republic, and USA Today; Twitter thread here BREAKING: Gov. Doug Ducey has signed the contentious #SB1457, which criminalizes abortions based on genetic abnormalities (among several other sweeping provisions.)Under #SB1457, providers who terminate pregnancies based solely on conditions like Down syndrome or cystic fibrosis could be charged with a class 6 felony and face prison time. The bill also confers civil rights on fetuses at any stage of development.

It also:

  • Forbids delivery of abortion-inducing drugs (also used to manage miscarriages)

  • Requires burial/cremation of fetal remains

  • Prohibits public ed institutions from performing abortions unless mother will die

  • Prevents public $ from supporting research involving abortions

Senator Tyler Pace had temporarily sunk the bill earlier this month when he broke with his party and joined Dems in voting 'no' on the Senate floor. But after reviving the legislation through a series of procedural maneuvers, sponsor Senator Nancy Barto brokered a compromise. Pace proposed 3 changes in exchange for his support.

  1. Felony charge applies only if abortion was performed 'solely' based on genetic condition

  2. 'Severe fetal abnormality' exemption replaced with 'lethal fetal abnormality' exemption

  3. IVF procedures protected from liability

Pace felt 'lethal fetal abnormality' was more narrow, as it's a phrase already defined in state law. Statute defines it as a condition 'diagnosed before birth and that will result, within reasonable certainty, in the death of the unborn child within three months after birth.'

Dems called the bill extreme and said it would threaten the doctor-patient relationship and jeopardize women's health. They pointed to medical associations opposing the measure and slammed GOP for failing to 'care about children with genetic abnormalities after they're born.'

Republican lawmakers, on the other hand, said the bill would help prevent 'modern day eugenics' by ensuring equal treatment for babies with genetic abnormalities. They argued the life of an unborn child matters just as much as the life of its mother.

Statement from Gov Ducey on #SB1457 signing: 'There’s immeasurable value in every single life — regardless of genetic makeup. We will continue to prioritize protecting life in our preborn children, and this legislation goes a long way in protecting real human lives.'

The law will take effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns for the year. (When will that be, you ask? Your guess is as good as mine. Whenever they can agree on a budget.)