Arizona governor poised to sign or veto bill making it a felony to abort a fetus with genetic abnormalities like Down syndrome

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Credit: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
Credit: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Republicans who control the Arizona Legislature on [April 22] approved a sweeping anti-abortion bill that bans the procedure if the woman is seeking it solely because a fetus has a genetic abnormality such as Down syndrome.

Doctors who perform an abortion solely because the child has a survivable genetic issue can face felony charges. The proposal also contains a raft of other provisions sought by abortion opponents.

The party-line votes send the measure to Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, an abortion opponent who has never vetoed a piece of anti-abortion legislation. Democrats universally opposed Senate Bill 1457.

Republicans said the measure was about the right to life.

“I think we need to be honest with ourselves,” said Sen. Kelly Townsend, a Mesa Republican. “Aborting a child because there’s a genetic abnormality is not health care. You are euthanizing a child that has a genetic abnormality. It’s euthanasia, it’s not health care.”

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Democrats say the bill infringes on a woman’s right to choose. In addition to the ban on abortions for genetic abnormalities and the “personhood” provision, the bill bans mail delivery of abortion-inducing medication, allows the father or maternal grandparents of a fetus aborted due to a genetic issue to sue, and bans the spending of any state money toward organizations that provide abortion care.

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