Arizona governor signs abortion ban for genetic issues

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FILE - In this Thursday, April 15, 2021, file photo, Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey speaks during a bill signing in Phoenix. Ducey on Tuesday, April 27, 2021, signed a sweeping anti-abortion bill that bans the procedure if the woman is seeking it solely because a fetus has a genetic abnormality such as Down syndrome. Doctors who perform an abortion solely because the child has a survivable genetic issue can face felony charges. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

PHOENIX – Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Tuesday signed a sweeping anti-abortion bill that bans the procedure if the woman is seeking it solely because a fetus has a genetic abnormality such as Down syndrome.

Doctors who perform an abortion solely because the child has a survivable genetic issue can face felony charges. The proposal also contains a raft of other provisions sought by abortion opponents.

The measure passed the Republican-controlled Legislature on party-line votes over unanimous opposition from minority Democrats. The Republican governor is an abortion opponent who has never vetoed a piece of anti-abortion legislation.

Senate Bill 1457 moved through the Legislature in fits and starts, stalling twice before moving again amid intense pressure by abortion opponents on GOP lawmakers who opposed some of its provisions. It finally passed both chambers last week.

The abortion bill as originally written made it a felony for a doctor to perform the procedure because the fetus has a genetic abnormality such as Down syndrome, and contained a slew of other provisions, including one that confers all civil rights to unborn children. Democrats call that “personhood” provision a backdoor way to allow criminal charges against a woman who has an abortion.

In addition to the ban on abortions for genetic abnormalities and the “personhood” provision, the bill bans mail delivery of abortion-inducing medication, allows the father or maternal grandparents of a fetus aborted because of a genetic issue to sue, and bans the spending of any state money toward organizations that provide abortion care.

The measure also requires fetal remains to be buried or cremated, and it forbids state universities from providing abortion care.

“There’s immeasurable value in every single life — regardless of genetic makeup,” Ducey said in a statement. “We will continue to prioritize protecting life in our preborn children, and this legislation goes a long way in protecting real human lives."