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

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.

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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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