Arizona legislature sends governor bill to amend abortion reporting law, prevent forced abortions, and aid victims of sexual abuse

By Dave Andrusko

Pro-life Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey

Arizona’s pro-life Gov. Doug Ducey is expected to sign SB 1394 which makes important changes to the state’s abortion reporting law.

On Monday the House passed the bill 35-22. The Senate followed suit on Wednesday by a vote of 17-13. The vote was almost uniformly along party lines with all but one Republican in favor, and all but one Democrats opposed.

The bill is “designed to prevent women from being coerced into abortions by imposing stricter standards on abortionists,” according to Calvin Freiburger. “It also requires more detailed reporting on women’s reasons for, and complications from, abortion.“

A key provision requires abortionists to ask women if they have been coerced into having the abortion, or if they are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, sex trafficking, or incest.

Jodi Liggett, the executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, claimed the bill is “about making the abortion experience as shaming and degrading as possible for people, to thereby discourage them from following through with their decision.

Republican state Sen. Nancy Barto, the bill’s sponsor, responded, “We really need to reject the notion that this is a pro-life versus pro-choice issue,” adding, “We need to reject the notion that asking a woman, allowing her the opportunity to disclose her coercion into having an abortion, is somehow shaming.”

Engel argued that if the discussion is about maternal health that abortion is “one of the safest medical procedures’’ available. More to the point, she said the longer a woman is forced to wait before having an abortion, the riskier the procedure becomes.

According to reporter Howard Fischer one pro-abortion Democrat asserted that abortion is “one of the safest medical procedures” available.

That whole discussion drew derision from House Majority Leader John Allen, R-Scottsdale.

“It’s hard to hear that this is the safest procedure in surgery when we know that a death occurs every time one happens,’’ he said.

Farnsworth specifically defended the questions on sex trafficking and whether a woman was being coerced. He said the questionnaire gives clinic and hospital officials a chance to take the woman into a separate room, without others present, to get some answers and get her help if she needs.