PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey has approved a ban on abortions after 15 weeks in Arizona.
"There's an opportunity to bring us much more in line with the industrialized and civilized world," said Governor Ducey to a group of reporters.
“In Arizona, we know there is immeasurable value in every life – including preborn life,” said Governor Ducey in a letter. “I believe it is each state's responsibility to protect them.”
Physicians who perform an abortion in violation of this statute and in a non-medical emergency, are subject to be charged with a class 6 felony and if convicted, will have their license suspended or revoked, according to a release from Governor Ducey. The release also says women who received an abortion after 15 weeks may not be prosecuted.
Ducey’s approval of the anti-abortion bill comes as the U.S. Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of a similar Mississippi law and may even overturn the right to abortion altogether in place for five decades.
Supporters of the 15-week bill, like Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod, said during discussions, "this bill strikes an appropriate balance for the health and safety of the mother as well as the life of the unborn child."
But many like State Senator Lupe Contreras believe the government has no business dictating a woman's health care decision.
"My wife and I make the choices in our household. We are a team. We chose to be a team. We will make those choices. I don't think we as a legislature should be making that choice," Contreras (D-South Phoenix) said.
"We didn't go to medical school as physicians to be put at risk of going to jail," said Dr. DeShawn Taylor of Desert Star Family Planning.
She fears the legislation will hurt those who are already in underserved and marginalized communities.
Those against the new law raised concerns it doesn't include an exception for victims of rape or incest.
Dr. Taylor said the new law could have unintended consequences.
"Abortion bans harm all pregnant people. What it does is it creates this hostile environment where you have people who are pregnant and people who are afraid to be criminalized, people with miscarriages, people with pregnancies growing outside of the uterus, an ectopic pregnancy also end up getting caught in these restrictions," said Dr. Taylor.
We also spoke with Lori Zee Gray, an Arizona Life Coalition board member.
"Life doesn't begin at 15 weeks, there's a heartbeat well before that," said Gray.
She says she had an abortion when she was young that prevented her from having children later in life.
Now she's against the procedure at any stage.
She feels the new law doesn't go far enough.
"Something similar at the minimum to the Texas 'heartbeat bill,'" said Gray. "I can speak to what abortion does, not only to the unborn innocent child but to the mother, a lot of women aren't aware of the physical and emotional and spiritual implications to abortion."
The Supreme Court is expected to decide on the Mississippi anti-abortion law by the end of June. If the court upholds the law and overturns all of Roe v Wade, a possibility, Arizona reverts to its pre-Roe anti-abortion law. That law outlaws all abortions with an exception for the life and health of the mother.