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15-Week Abortion Ban Passes Arizona Senate

AP Photo/Steve Helber

On Tuesday, the Arizona Senate passed a bill prohibiting most abortions after 15 weeks gestation. The bill, S.B. 1164, is similar to a Mississippi law banning abortions that is currently being challenged at the Supreme Court. 


According to USA Today-affiliated local outlet AZCentral, S.B. 1164 passed Arizona's "narrowly divided Senate with a 16-13 party-line vote, with Republicans in support." The bill now goes to the GOP-controlled Arizona House of Representatives. If S.B. 1164 is approved in the House, it will need to be signed into law by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey. 

If S.B. 1164 is signed into law, abortions would only be allowed after 15 weeks of pregnancy in cases of medical emergency. This includes life-threatening conditions and those that "create serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function." The law would not allow abortions in cases of rape or incest. 

"Arizona doctors who perform the procedure after 15 weeks would be subject to prosecution for a class 6 felony, and face revocation or suspension of their medical licenses," AZCentral reported. 

Republican State Sen. Nancy Barto, who sponsored the bill, told AZCentral that she's hoping the Supreme Court's 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade will be overturned this summer. In the meantime, she said that mimicking Mississippi's law is "an opportunity in Arizona to protect more unborn lives." 

Reportedly, all Democrats "uniformly" oppose the bill, claiming that it is "unconstitutional." 

"With reproductive freedom under threat nationally, we need to be very aware that Arizonans are in danger of losing our rights and access overnight, so I hope people are paying attention," said Democratic State Sen. Raquel Terán, who is chair of the Arizona Democratic Party. 


The U.S. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Dec. 1 in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which surrounds Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban. In her amicus brief filed last summer, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch wrote that Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey are outdated and should be overturned.

"Roe and Casey are egregiously wrong. The conclusion that abortion is a constitutional right has no basis in text, structure, history, or tradition," Fitch wrote in the brief. "So the question becomes whether this Court should overrule those decisions. It should." 

"Today, adoption is accessible and on a wide scale women attain both professional success and a rich family life, contraceptives are more available and effective, and scientific advances show that an unborn child has taken on the human form and features months before viability," Fitch continued. "States should be able to act on those developments. But Roe and Casey shackle States to a view of the facts that is decades out of date." 


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