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STATE POLITICS & POLICY | Arizona Legislature Passes Two Abortion-Related Bills

STATE POLITICS & POLICY | Arizona Legislature Passes Two Abortion-Related Bills
[March 27, 2008]

The Arizona Senate on Tuesday passed two House-approved abortion-related bills (HB 2769, HB 2263), the Arizona Republic reports (Crawford, Arizona Republic, 3/25). The Senate voted 21-9 to pass HB 2769, which mirrors the federal abortion ban on so-called "partial-birth" abortion upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, the AP/ reports. The bill allows exceptions only to save the life of the pregnant woman.

HB 2263, which passed by an 18-12 vote, incorporates a state appellate court ruling that outlines methods that judges can use when minors seeking abortions request a judicial bypass for the state's parental consent requirement (AP/, 3/25). The judicial bypass bill adds language requiring a judge to conclude that there is "clear and convincing evidence" that a girl seeking an abortion is mature based on "her experience level, perspective and judgment," the Capitol Media Services/Arizona Daily Star reports. Under the bill, a judge can consider various factors when determining maturity, including living away from home, handling personal finances, and knowledge about pregnancy and options available (Fischer, Capitol Media Services/Arizona Daily Star, 3/26).

The bills have been sent to Gov. Janet Napolitano (D), who has vetoed similar measures, the AP/ reports. Napolitano spokesperson Jeanine L'Ecuyer said she did not know what action Napolitano will take on the two bills. In other action Tuesday, the House voted 32-28 to pass a bill (HB 2269) that would prohibit all nurses from performing surgical abortions (AP/, 3/25). The measure now heads to the Senate (HB 2269 history, 3/26).


Planned Parenthood Arizona in a statement said the changes to the parental consent law would make it more difficult for minors to obtain waivers because judges would be restricted from considering other factors that could be appropriate for individual cases. Sen. Linda Gray (R) said judges would still have considerable preference over how much emphasis to apply to any relevant factors.

PPAZ said the proposed abortion ban would not prevent any additional abortions because it mirrors the federal law. The group added that the bill would "dictate what medical procedures doctors can perform to protect pregnant women with serious health problems." Cathi Herrod, president of the conservative Center for Arizona Policy, said the ban is needed "because the federal law only applies in limited scenarios, because parallel state and federal bans give prosecutors more options and because regulating abortion is primarily the job of the states" (AP/, 3/25).