3/12/2009

Arizona Goes Backward.... Again

Arizona State CapitolImage by jimbowen0306 via Flickr

Proving that as most of the country moves forward, Arizona continues to slide into the 19th Century, the Arizona House approved new idiotic measures restricting the right of women to choose.
PHOENIX — The state House voted 36-18 Wednesday to impose new restrictions on abortion.

HB 2564 would require a 24-hour waiting period before a woman could terminate a pregnancy. During that time, the woman would have to be told "the probable anatomical and physiological characteristics" of the unborn child at that point.
The bill also requires that the woman be told, in person, that:

• The father of the child is liable for support, even if he agreed to pay for the abortion.
• Medical assistance benefits may be available for prenatal care, childbirth and postnatal care if they decided against an abortion.
• Public and private agencies can assist the woman before and after the birth, whether she chooses to keep the child or put it up for adoption.

The measure now goes to the Senate, where 12 of 30 lawmakers already have signed on as sponsors. And Gov. Jan Brewer already is on record as supporting a waiting period, something her predecessor, Janet Napolitano, vetoed.

"The requirement of a mandated lecture and a 24-hour reflective period is not only insulting but assumes that women do not adequately think through their abortion decisions, and that the state must do their thinking for them," said Rep. Olivia Cajero Bedford, D-Tucson.

But Rep. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, said the waiting period and the information are necessary. "Women need to know the nature and purpose of a proposed treatment or procedure; the risks and benefits, alternatives, regardless of their cost or health-insurance coverage; the risks and benefits of the alternative treatment or procedure; and the risks and benefits of not receiving a treatment or procedure," she said.
Barto said that information is not now being provided.

But Rep. Ed Ableser, D-Tempe, said the help promised by the law doesn't exist because lawmakers have cut funding for many of these programs.
"We're passing a bill demanding health-care professionals to lie to these women and say that there are services available," he said.

Rep. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, complained no other medical procedure requires a 24-hour waiting period, including vasectomies and tubal ligations, which end a person's ability to have children.

But Rep. Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler, said the comparisons aren't valid, as abortion is the only medical procedure designed "to kill another human being, born or unborn."

Rep. Frank Antenori, R-Tucson, said there is "a duty to protect either our wives or our daughters from making decisions that may come back to haunt them further down the road in their lives."

The measure also would allow health professionals, hospitals and pharmacists to refuse to perform abortions, a right now reserved only for doctors. It also would allow them to refuse to provide "morning-after" pills, even to rape victims, with no requirement they tell a woman where she could get them.

Another provision specifies what factors a judge may consider in determining if a minor is mature enough to have an abortion without getting parental consent and requires any parental consent form be notarized.

And it says only doctors can perform abortions, ending the practice by Planned Parenthood Arizona of letting nurse practitioners with specialized training do early-term procedures.

Also Wednesday, the House voted 37-19 to adopt HB 2400, a revamped law banning "partial-birth" abortions. The state originally banned the procedure in 1997, but that law never took effect after a federal judge concluded it was flawed. Since then Congress has adopted its own ban on such late-term abortions. And the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 2003 ruling, upheld the constitutionality of that language.
Maybe it's time we just outlawed stupid men from making laws that affect intelligent women.

We can hope the Senate will kill it, but don't get your hopes up.

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