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Anti-abortion bill heading to State Senate after committee gives its approval

Posted at 5:15 PM, Feb 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-03 20:31:00-05

PHOENIX — An anti-abortion bill, one that mirrors a Mississippi law currently being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court, passed in the Arizona State Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday and now heads to the State Senate. The Arizona law would prohibit physicians from performing abortions after 15 weeks. The only exception is when the life or health of the mother is at risk.

Abortion providers who violate the law would face criminal penalties.

"We need to look at this issue in terms of how lives can be saved," the bill's sponsor Senator Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix) said.

Testimony during the committee hearing was both passionate and personal from both sides.

"This is a fiction we are ending abortions, those of us with privilege will be able to travel where safe and legal access is available," one woman said. "I myself am post-abortive and personally know the impact abortion had on me, physically and mentally," said another.

Supporters of the bill, like Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod, said, "this bill strikes an appropriate balance for the health and safety of the mother as well as the life of the unborn child."

But State Senator Lupe Contreras believes 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 making that choice," Contreras (D-South Phoenix) said.

When it came time to vote the Republican majority moved the bill out on a 5-3 party-line vote. It now moves on to the full Senate for its consideration.

The Supreme Court is expected to decide 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. Last year the legislature removed criminal penalties against women who have abortion procedures.