Arizona House follows Senate in passing bill that bans abortions because of a diagnosis of genetic abnormality

By Dave Andrusko

A multi-pronged pro-life bill, having already passed the Arizona Senate, was approved in the House yesterday on a party-line vote of 31-29. SB 1457 passed the Senate last month, also along party lines—all 16 Republicans for, all 14 Democrats against. 

 “But senators need to approve the House changes before sending it to Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, who has regularly signed anti-abortion legislation,” the Associated Press reported.

SB 1457 prohibits abortion based on the diagnosis of a genetic abnormality, except when the abnormality is incompatible with life. The bill has other components. They include prohibiting abortion drugs from being sent through the mails (making dangerous “Do It Yourself” abortions possible) and requiring a burial or cremation of the remains of an aborted baby.

Arizona already prohibits abortions because of an unborn baby’s race or sex.

 Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services reported that  

At the heart of SB 1457 is a legislative declaration that Arizona laws recognize that an unborn child has “all rights, privileges and immunities available to other persons, citizens and residents of this state.” The only limits would be the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court.

“There are incredible numbers of people that appreciate those children that have come into the world with a genetic abnormality like Down [syndrome] or other serious issues that are genetic,” said state Sen. Barto, the bill’s sponsor, during debate. “And once they were born, they’ve meant so much to their families, to the world. They’ve gone on to live productive, wonderful lives. That’s what we’re protecting here.”

Pro-abortion Democrats, naturally, opposed the bill.

“Abortion is clearly a very personal issue,” said state Sen. Kirsten Engel, D-Tucson Engel.”It’s a complex decision and so much more so when a family receives the diagnosis from a doctor that the child may have a genetic abnormality.”

But Fischer reported that Sen. Barton responded that the bill protects women.

“What we’re doing here by not addressing this issue is we’re hurting the most vulnerable among us and making a judgment that they are unworthy to live,” she said.

Bills banning abortion because of genetic anomaly, race, and/or gender have passed in seventeen states.

One Circuit Court—the 6th— gave the state of Tennessee a big victory when it ruled the state could begin enforcing a ban on abortion when the abortionist knows that the woman is seeking the abortion because of the child’s sex or race or if he knows the woman is seeking an abortion because of a diagnosis of Down syndrome.

Another—the 8th circuit —upheld a decision overturning an Arkansas law banning abortions when the unborn child is diagnosed with Down syndrome, but the concurring opinions pointed a way forward.