Friday, 13 April 2012 20:45

Arizona Governor Signs Law Banning Late-Term Abortions

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Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed legislation April 12 that bans most abortions in that state after the 20th week of pregnancy. In signing the Women’s Health and Safety Act, the pro-life governor said that the new measure “strengthens Arizona’s laws protecting the health and safety of women, and recognizes the precious life of the pre-born baby.”

LifeNews.com reported that in addition to prohibiting late-term abortions (except when the mother’s life is endangered), the measure also requires that a woman seeking an abortion have an ultrasound of her pre-born baby at least 24 hours prior to the procedure. “In many cases women change their minds about a planned abortion after seeing the images of their developing child,” noted the pro-life news site.

Additionally, the bill mandates the development of a state website that contains facts about fetal development and abortion risks, and requires that any physician who is on-site for a surgical abortion have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic, in case of abortion-caused complications.

Governor Brewer, whose signature makes Arizona the seventh state in recent years to pass laws protecting the unborn, said the legislation was consistent with her “strong track record of supporting common-sense measures to protect the health of women and safeguard our most vulnerable population — the unborn.”

State Representative Kimberly Yee (pictured above), one of the bill’s sponsors, thanked the governor for signing the legislation. “This important bill strengthens Arizona’s laws protecting the health and safety of women, and recognizes the precious life of the pre-born baby,” she said.

Abortion activists decried the new law, warning that it would place women at unnecessary risk. Nancy Northrup of the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement the bill means some women at risk of pregnancy complications “will be forced to wait until they are bleeding to death before doctors are able to provide the emergency care they need. Some women at risk of grave complications will be forced to decide whether to proceed with their pregnancies in the dark, before they have all the information they need to arrive at their choices.” She said that “to call this an extreme assault on reproductive rights would be a massive understatement. In its cruelty and its callous disregard for women’s lives, it is downright appalling.”

But Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life said that in addition to providing commonsense protection for the unborn, the measure will “ensure that women don’t suffer from the risks of a dangerous, late-term procedure.” She pointed out that the “abortion industry’s war on women has left many injured people behind. This ban will protect women’s lives, despite the best efforts of the abortion industry to block reasonable limits on a procedure that becomes more dangerous with each passing week.”

Yoest noted that there is abundant medical evidence demonstrating “abortion can cause serious physical and psychological complications — and the risk of those complications raises dramatically later in pregnancy. By prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks, the Arizona legislature has taken a vital step toward protecting the health of women in Arizona.”

Cathi Herrod of the pro-family Center for Arizona Policy, also applauded passage of the bill, thanking Brewer and “the many strong, pro-life men and women who led the effort to enact this much-needed law.” She said that the measure would provide “for the health needs of women considering an abortion, ensuring that women have all the information they need when making this life-changing decision. Abortion not only ends the life of a pre-born child, but it also seriously endangers the health and safety of women.”

Photo: Arizona State Representative Kimberly Yee

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