Arizona governor approves ban on abortion after 15 weeks

Arizona reproductive health, rights, and justice advocates protest an abortion bill at the Arizona Capitol in 2021 (Picture: AP)

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed off on a ban on abortions after 15 weeks, joining the growing-list of Republican-led states to pass aggressive anti-abortion legislation in recent months.

The Republican governor also signed legislation on Wednesday that prohibits underage gender reassignment surgeries.

The House approved the abortion ban last week, a month after the Senate gave its OK. Ducey signed the legislation Wednesday.

‘In Arizona, we know there is immeasurable value in every life – including preborn life,’ Governor Ducey said in a letter Wednesday, according to ABC15. ‘I believe it is each state’s responsibility to protect them.’

Arizona’s abortion ban bill contains no exception for rape or incest, and would also bar abortions for those who learn later on in their pregnancy that the fetus is not viable. The bill does have exemptions for medical emergencies in which the mother is at risk of dying or having an irreversible injury as a result.

The bill also contains a penalty for medical providers who violate the law, which would be felony charges and potential suspension of their licenses.

The second piece of legislation, targeting transgender youth, does not bar puberty blocking hormones or any other hormone therapy. It also promises children can stay on any prescriptions they are currently taking.

‘The reason is simple, and common sense – this is a decision that will dramatically affect the rest of an individual’s life, including the ability of that individual to become a biological parent later in life,’ Ducey said. 

He also signed a bill that will require all public and private schools that compete in sports to ‘expressly designate their interscholastic athletics teams based on the biological sex of the participating students.’

‘Every young Arizona athlete should have the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities that give them a sense of belonging and allow them to grow and thrive,’ he said.

The state’s new abortion ban comes at the US Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of a similar law in the state of Mississippi.

A similar 15-week abortion ban also passed in Florida earlier this month, which Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to sign. Another bill in West Virginia failed to pass the state Senate after passing in the House.

In Texas a bill was passed last year that allows private citizens to enforce the abortion ban, which the Supreme Court refused to block. A copycat bill was signed into law by Idaho’s governor this week.

Arizona’s bill also explicitly states that it does not overrule a state law that’s been in place for over 100 years that would ban abortion outright if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that enacted the right to abortion in law.

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