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Arizona ends legislative session with several laws limiting abortion access, funding

MahurinPointing_Thumb_724.jpg
MahurinPointing_Thumb_724.jpg

Arizona wrapped its 50th legislative session this week, with both Republican-controlled chambers passing several pieces of legislation that will likely impact women seeking abortions in the coming year. All abortion-related bills that passed have been signed by Gov. Jan Brewer.

Here is a breakdown of how abortion seekers in the Grand Canyon State might be impacted:

What a woman must do to have an abortion ****(HB 2416** — sponsored by Rep. Kimberly Yee, R-10th District)**

  • View an ultrasound and listen to the heartbeat of the fetus (if audible)
  • If she’s a minor and is trying to obtain a judicial bypass of parental consent, she must be appointed a guardian ad litem by a judge.
  • She cannot obtain a “telemed abortion” — abortion-inducing drugs obtained by consulting a physician using telecommunication services.

Where an abortion can be performed (HB 2416):

  • Clinics where surgical abortions are performed must now be regulated to meet the standards of hospitals.

Reasons she cannot have an abortion (HB 2443 – sponsored by Rep. Steve B. Montenegro, R-12th District):

  • Because she is unhappy with the projected sex or race of the child. Physicians who perform such an abortion will be guilty of a class 3 felony.

How she can pay for the abortion (HB 2384 — sponsored by Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-9th District):

  • Not from any public funds or student fees. Under this law, abortion providers are ineligible for donations through the Working Poor Tax Credit.

Behind many of the new pieces of legislation was the Center for Arizona Policy, a religious policy group that drafts and lobbies for legislation concerning abortion, marriage and religious issues.

All told, CAP introduced or supported 19 bills into the state legislature, 12 of which have been signed into law.

Other laws CAP introduced and/or supported are related to adoption (gives married couples preferential treatment); divorce (introduces new curriculum into the already mandated education program divorce-seeking married couples must take, including instruction related to “negative impacts” of divorce on children and adults and options available as an alternative to divorce); homeschool definition (defines homeschool as a “nonpublic school conducted primarily by the parent, guardian or other person who has custody of the child or nonpublic instruction provided in the child’s home”); child prostitution sentencing (reestablishes the standard for sentencing predators which was inadvertently removed in 2010); and religious freedom in campaign financing (stipulates that a person does not have to register as a political committee if “the person is a religious assembly or institution that does not spend a substantial amount of time or assets, within the meaning of section 501 (c)(3), on influencing any federal, state or local legislation, referendum, initiative or constitutional amendment).

At the conclusion of the session, CAP released a statement praising both chambers for the measures they approved. In advance of next year’s session, CAP, introduced a proposed ballot measure to “enhance transparency and accountability to Arizona’s merit selection system of selecting judges.” Since 1996, 85 CAP-supported bills have become Arizona law.

CAP is due to publish its 2011 Family Issues Voting Record, a report on how Arizona’s 90 state legislators voted “on important issues to the family.”

The Center for Arizona Policy, is a 501(c)3 organization and a certified member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. On its website, CAP states that all the tax-deductible contributions it receives “are used to promote the sanctity of life, protect and strengthen marriage, preserve our religious freedoms, and support all the work of Center for Arizona Policy, Inc.”

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