Arizona pro-choice rally

Arizona reproductive health, rights and justice advocates protest Monday, April 26, 2021, before delivering a petition to Gov. Doug Ducey to veto Senate Bill 1457 in Phoenix.

(The Center Square) – Gov. Doug Ducey said Arizona is reaffirming its commitment to pro-life policies after he signed legislation expanding legal protections for the unborn with genetic abnormalities.

Ducey signed Senate Bill 1457 on Tuesday, hours after it cleared the Arizona Legislature. It makes numerous changes to the state’s legal code regarding abortive procedures, including granting state and federal rights to the unborn at any stage of development. Performing an abortion because of a genetic abnormality of the child would constitute a class 6 felony, which carries a one-year prison sentence.

“There’s immeasurable value in every single life – regardless of genetic makeup,” Ducey said. “We will continue to prioritize protecting life in our preborn children, and this legislation goes a long way in protecting real human lives.” 

Ducey thanked the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, for ushering the bill through.

“We need to protect our most vulnerable, especially those with treatable genetic conditions,” Barto said in a news release. “They are loved, integral members of our community that make Arizona whole – and I’m proud to sponsor legislation that gives them a voice before they’re even born.”

Opponents said the new law is going to put medical professionals in prison. 

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, the advocacy wing of the local Planned Parenthood chapter, pushed allies to call Ducey’s office, saying the bill would “traumatize, shame and put the health of people seeking abortions at risk.”

NARAL Pro-Choice America, a women’s rights group, said the new law threatens abortion care from almost every angle. 

“This bill, like Governor Ducey, couldn’t be more out of touch with the majority of Arizonans who support reproductive freedom,” said Caroline Mello Roberson, the group’s southwest regional director.

SB 1457 is the third pro-life piece of legislation Ducey has signed in 2021. He enacted Senate Bill 1254 on Friday. It requires medical professionals and others to provide pregnant women with literature on adoption. He signed House Bill 2410 on April 9. It extends the state’s Safe Haven program to allow a child to be surrendered at a designated location up to 30 days after birth. The previous limit was 72 hours.

Regional Editor

Cole Lauterbach is a regional editor for The Center Square covering Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington. For more than a decade, Cole has produced award-winning content on both radio and television.