Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has signed into law a pro-life bill that would ban discriminatory abortions on unborn babies with genetic abnormalities such as Down syndrome.
“There’s immeasurable value in every single life — regardless of genetic makeup,” Ducey said after signing the law. “We will continue to prioritize protecting life in our preborn children.”
The legislation prohibits discriminatory abortions due to a prenatal diagnosis such as Down syndrome. It also ensures that abortion drugs cannot be shipped through the mail, prevents taxpayer dollars from being used for research that involves fetal remains from an abortion, and requires dignified and respectful treatment of the remains of aborted children.
The bill also would prohibit dangerous abortion drugs from being delivered by mail without a woman having an exam or seeing a doctor, and prohibit public schools from referring students for abortions. It would require that the remains of aborted babies be buried or cremated as well.
Cathi Herrod of the pro-life Center for Arizona Policy tells LifeNews.com that she is delighted the governor signed the measure.
“Governor Doug Ducey signed one of the most significant pro-life bills in recent history today. Preborn babies will be saved the day SB 1457 goes into effect,” Herrod told LifeNews. “The Governor and Arizona pro-life lawmakers, led by sponsor Senator Nancy Barto, stood up for the lives of the vulnerable in the face of heavy, misleading opposition. Their dedication to the value of life is evident in the tenacity that brought back SB 1457 from what appeared to be the end of the bill on the Senate floor.”
“Today, Arizonans win. Arizona children diagnosed with disabilities prior to birth will no longer be discriminated against,” she said. “Arizona taxpayers will not be forced to support abortions at public colleges and universities, and the laws of Arizona will be interpreted to value all human life.”
Herrod thanks the lawmakers involved with resurrecting the bill from potentially being killed this session.
“You may remember SB 1457 failed to pass a few weeks ago based on minor language concerns. With those concerns addressed last week, every Republican lawmaker voted in favor and every Democrat voted against this life-affirming bill. The slim victory was enough to send SB 1457 to the Governor, who wasted no time signing it into law today,” she explained. “Today’s victory serves as a reminder that elections matter. Last November, Arizonans elected a pro-life majority to serve at the State Capitol. Though the margin is a slim, one-vote majority in each chamber, it was enough to make the difference for life.”
A Marist/Knights of Columbus poll earlier this year found that 70% of Americans – including 56% of those who identify as pro-choice, 59% of Democrats, and 70% of Independents – oppose abortion based on the expectation that an unborn child may have Down syndrome.
Research suggests up to 93 percent of unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the U.S. are aborted. Recent reports in The Atlantic and CBS News found that nearly 100 percent of unborn babies who test positive for Down syndrome are aborted in Iceland, 95 percent in Denmark and 90 percent in England.
Parents also frequently report feeling pressured to abort unborn babies with Down syndrome and other disabilities. One mom recently told the BBC that she was pressured to abort her unborn daughter 15 times, including right up to the moment of her baby’s birth. Another mother from Brooklyn, New York said doctors tried to convince her to abort her unborn son for weeks before they took no for an answer.
The goal of Barto’s bill is to stop this discrimination and protect unborn babies and mothers, but some Democrat lawmakers claimed it would force certain religious views on others.
The committee also heard testimony from OB-GYN Dr. Lance Holeman who explained how the bill would protect women through the abortion drug restrictions, according to the report. Holeman said abortion groups that send abortion drugs in the mail to women without requiring an examination first could put her life at risk. He said about 2 percent of pregnancies are ectopic, and a woman with an undetected ectopic pregnancy who takes the drugs could be at risk of death.
South Dakota recently passed a similar law to ban discriminatory abortions on unborn babies with Down syndrome.
Abortion discrimination occurs at an alarming rate, and it is getting worse with advances in prenatal testing.
The Telegraph reports about 90 percent of unborn babies who test positive for Down syndrome in the United Kingdom are aborted. A recent report in the European Journal of Human Genetics found that the number of babies with Down syndrome born in the UK dropped 54 percent since the non-invasive prenatal screening tests became available about a decade ago.
ACTION ALERT: Please contact Governor Ducey and thank him for his commitment to signing pro-life legislation in Arizona. Call him at (602) 542-4331 or email him a quick “thank you.”