Arizona Senate Passes Bill To Ban Abortions After 15 Weeks
Illustration picture shows a doctor doing an ultrasound examination during a visit of a pregnant woman to her gynaecologist, in Mechelen, Thursday 31 January 2019.
JASPER JACOBS/AFP via Getty Images

The Arizona state Senate passed a measure on Tuesday that would prohibit abortions in the state after 15 weeks of pregnancy as the U.S. Supreme Court considers a similar Mississippi law in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Senate Bill 1164, sponsored by Republican state Sen. Nancy Barto, passed 16-13 along party lines. The bill now moves to the state’s House of Representatives.

The state House, also Republican-led, is likely to approve the bill, with Republican Gov. Doug Ducey expected to sign it into law.

“The state has an obligation to protect life, and that is what this bill is about,” Barto said during the session. “A 15-week-old baby in the womb has a fully formed nose, lips, eyelids, they suck their thumbs. They feel pain. That’s what this bill is about.”

Barto added, “I believe our constitution stands clearly for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and the first part of that is life.”

Arizona doctors who perform the procedure after 15 weeks could be prosecuted for a Class 6 felony, facing revocation or suspension of their medical licenses.

Qualified medical emergencies are exempted, including situations that complicate “the medical condition of a pregnant woman as to necessitate the immediate abortion of her pregnancy to avert her death or for which a delay will create serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.” The bill does not specifically exclude cases of rape or incest.

Abortion provider Planned Parenthood was not pleased with the Senate’s passing of the bill.

“Arizona politicians are banking on the Supreme Court upholding Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban so they can quickly strip Arizonians of their rights and begin enforcement,” CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona Brittany Fonteno said in a statement.

Bills similar to the one in Mississippi have been introduced in several states in the past year, including Texas, which introduced a more stringent ban also involved in a Supreme Court case.

The Florida House of Representatives also voted on Wednesday to move forward on a bill that would ban abortions after 15 weeks.

“The bill was approved by the state legislative body by a 78-39 vote, which was split on party lines. It will now head to the state Senate, which is expected to pass the bill soon,” The Hill reported. Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has expressed support in signing the bill once passed.

West Virginia’s House of Delegates also passed a 15-week abortion ban on Tuesday. The House also passed a related bill that would ban in-state sale of fetal body parts from abortions in the state.

“If it was up to me, we would ban it outright,” West Virginia Republican Del. Adam Burkhammer said on the House floor in support of the bill, according to the Associated Press. “But that’s not the bill before us — we’re taking steps in a positive direction.”

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