Apr 28, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Arizona governor signs bill banning abortions for genetic issues

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in 2018. Photo: Ralph Freso/Getty Images

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed into law Tuesday a bill that would ban abortions in cases in which they are sought "solely" because of genetic issues, such as Down syndrome.

Why it matters: Facing the welcome prospect of a conservative-leaning Supreme Court, many Republican states have been passing bills to limit abortion access.

  • Both Idaho and Oklahoma this week signed into law bills that would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Driving the news: Doctors who perform abortions in such cases could face felony charges. The sweeping anti-abortion bill also includes several other provisions, including:

  • Conferring fetuses with civil rights
  • Banning mail delivery of abortion-inducing medicines, including those used to help regulate miscarriages, per the Arizona Republic.
  • Requiring fetal remains to be buried or cremated
  • Forbidding the use of state money to fund institutions that provide abortions or do abortion-involved research

What they're saying: "Every life holds immeasurable value — regardless of genetic makeup," Ducey tweeted.

The other side: Arizona Democrats issued a rebuttal to the bill, which they called an "expansive and intrusive step toward criminalizing, restricting, and regulating women, doctors, universities, and public institutions."

  • They noted that conferring unborn fetus with civil rights is a step towards prosecuting women who do not carry their babies to term — including in cases of miscarriage — for manslaughter.
  • The Arizona chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) issued a statement calling the bill unconstitutional.
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