Arizona state lawmakers approve 15-week abortion ban in Supreme Court abortion case

the Arizona Legislative Assembly Thursday joined the growing list of Republican-led states to pass aggressive anti-abortion legislation as the conservative U.S. Supreme Court considers rolling back abortion rights that have been in place for nearly 50 years .

The House voted along party lines to ban Abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, mirroring a Mississippi law currently being considered by the country’s high court.

The bill explicitly says it does not override a state law that has been in effect for more than 100 years that would outright ban abortion if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that enshrined the right to abortion in law.

The bill now falls to the Republican governor. Doug Duceyan abortion opponent who has signed every anti-abortion bill that has come to his desk since he took office in 2015.

Florida lawmakers passed a similar 15-week abortion ban earlier this month that Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to sign. A bill in West Virginia failed to pass the state Senate as its legislative session ended earlier this month after passing the House.

A Arizona proposal that would ban abortion after about six weeks has not moved forward. A bill signed into law in Texas last year allows private citizens to enforce the ban, and the Supreme Court declined to block it. The governor of Idaho signed a copy of the bill this week. These measures are unique in that they allow private citizens to bring civil suits against anyone who helps someone else to have an abortion after six weeks. This has made legal challenges difficult because the government is not involved in law enforcement.

Arizona’s 15-week abortion ban bill contains no exceptions for rape or incest or for a medical emergency.

“I’m increasingly scared of this bill,” Democratic Rep. Mitzi Epstein said during Thursday’s floor debate. “I am terrified that this bill will prohibit health care for a woman with a natural, tragic and horrific miscarriage and that she will not be allowed to get that health care.”

Republican supporters said little during the floor debate.

Minority Democrats have said the measure is unconstitutional and that any ban would disproportionately impact poor, minority women who will not be able to travel to states without strong abortion laws.

But Senator Nancy Barto, the bill’s Republican sponsor, said she hopes the High Court will uphold Mississippi’s law banning abortion after 15 weeks.

“The state has an obligation to protect life, and that’s what it’s all about,” Barto said during the Senate debate last month.

The debate and vote on the 15-week abortion ban took place the same morning the House also debated a ban on transgender girls playing on the corresponding high school or college sports team. to their gender identity. The House voted Thursday to pass a bill ban sex reassignment surgery for anyone under the age of 18.

Arizona already has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, including one that would automatically ban it if the High Court overturns Roe altogether.

Republicans hope to put the 15-week ban in place so that it takes effect quickly if the Supreme Court further limits abortion rights but stops short of overturning Roe altogether. The measure closely mirrors Mississippi law.

Under current abortion rulings, abortion is legal until a fetus can survive outside the womb, which is usually around 24 weeks.

Barto’s bill would make it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion after 15 weeks, but would make it illegal to prosecute pregnant women for having one. Doctors could face felony charges and lose their license to practice medicine. There is an exception for cases where the mother risks death or serious permanent harm, but not for cases of rape or incest.

Of the 13,186 abortions performed in Arizona in 2020, 636 were performed after 15 weeks of pregnancy, according to the latest data from the Arizona Department of Health Services.

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