The new law, entitled the “Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2011” (HB 2443), makes it a felony to perform an abortion based on the race or gender of the unborn child or to provide financing for such a procedure. Abortionists who violate the law could face a three and one-half year prison sentence, along with the loss of their medical license. Additionally, any medical professional who fails to report a violation of the law could face a $10,000 fine.
The new law also allows the father of an unborn child or the parents of a minor girl who receives a race-based or sex-selection abortion to file a lawsuit for civil damages against the abortionist.
CBN News reported that while Illinois, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania have laws on the books banning abortions based on gender, according to the New York-based Guttmacher Institute, an abortion research group started by Planned Parenthood, the Arizona law is the first in the nation to ban race-selective abortions.
While the practice of abortions based on sex “is frequently seen in Asian nations like China, India, and Vietnam,” reported LifeNews, “it has crossed the Pacific Ocean as Asian immigrants have come to the United States and brought with them their cultural preference for sons.”
“We are a multicultural society now and cultures are bringing their traditions to America that really defy the values of America, including cultures that value males over females,” said state Senator Nancy Barto, one of the bill’s supporters.
In sponsoring the bill, State Representative Steve Montenegro said that no one “should be subjected to abortion because they’re the wrong sex or race.” The pro-life legislator noted a 2010 study that had documented a bias against black babies, and state Senator Don Shooter, one of the bill’s key supporters, cited a study from the Frederick Douglass Foundation demonstrating that 30 percent of abortions are performed on African-American mothers.
Arizona’s House of Representatives passed the bill on a 41 to 18 vote, followed by the Senate, which added a provision making it a felony for a party to perform or fund an abortion based on the race or sex of the baby, or the race of a parent. Following Senate passage on a 21 to 5 vote, Governor Brewer, who has the distinction of signing every pro-life measure placed before her, continued her perfect record by signing the new bill into law as well.
Abortion proponents such as Planned Parenthood charged that the new law was really a strategy to move toward the total banning of abortion in the state, and insisted that sex- and race-selective abortion was not a problem in Arizona. In a prepared statement Bryan Howard, chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Arizona, complained that the law “creates a highly unusual requirement that women state publicly their reason for choosing to terminate a pregnancy — a private decision they already made with their physician, partner, and family.”
As reported by LifeNews, one of the bill’s opponents, Democratic state Senator Linda Lopez, called a ban on sex-selection and race-based abortions “offensive,” to which Senate President Russell Pearce responded: “We have an obligation to protect the most innocent among us, the unborn. Whatever we can do to limit the number of deaths of these unborn children, I’m always a ‘yes’ vote.”
In related news, on March 29 Arizona lawmakers also approved HB 2416, a measure expanding informed consent law in the state. The measure would require that abortion providers offer a mother the opportunity to view an ultrasound of her unborn baby, along with a description of the baby’s stage of development, at least one hour before the scheduled abortion; that the mother also have the opportunity to hear the heartbeat of her unborn baby; and that the mother certify that she was offered these options before going under anesthesia and receiving the abortion.
LifeSiteNews.com reported that the bill “defines ‘abortion’ to include chemical abortion like that derived through the RU-486 abortion pill, and includes a measure strictly prohibiting ‘telemedicine’ for abortions.” Abortion providers who violate the law would face the loss of their medical license, along with severe civil penalties.
As with the other pro-life measures, Governor Brewer is expected to sign HB 2416 as well.