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Arizona Senate gives first approval to bill to ban abortions based on genetic anomalies such as Down syndrome

by | Feb 25, 2021

By Dave Andrusko

Last Thursday we reported on the progress made in Arizona in passing legislation that would ban abortions based on a prenatal diagnosis of a genetic anomaly such as Down syndrome.

Sponsored by state Sen. Nancy Barto, SB 1457 received preliminary approval on Wednesday. “A final roll-call vote is needed before the measure goes to the House,” reported Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services.

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

SB 1457 has other components, including prohibiting abortion drugs from being sent through the mails and requiring a burial or cremation of the remains of an aborted baby.

According to Fischer

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,” Sen. Barto said. “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.

Last week the Senate Appropriations Committee took testimony on the measure before giving it unanimous approval.

Pro-life state Sen. Wendy Rogers said, “This gives voice to those who have no voice,” adding, “Who are we as a country if we cannot protect those who cannot protect themselves?”

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.

Categories: Legislation
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