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A Senate panel at Arizona approved thursday sweeping Abortion legislation that would, among other things, prohibit the procedure from being performed on the basis of a diagnosis of Down syndrome in the unborn child or other genetic abnormality.
If the doctors performed these abortions, they could face between two and nine years in prison. While the bill exempts mothers from civil or criminal liability, fathers married to the mother can bring a civil action on behalf of the child.
All Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee opposed the bill, which would also follow other anti-abortion initiatives by specifying that unborn children enjoy the same rights, privileges and immunities as other citizens. This, however, seemed limited, as the legislation stated that these rights were “subject only to the Constitution of the United States” and the decisions of the Supreme Court.
“It will certainly chill this kind of medical advice because a doctor faces up to 8 years in prison for informing his patient of these abnormalities,” said Democratic Tucson Senator Kirsten Engel.
But Katie Glenn, who is a government affairs adviser at Americans United for Life, told Fox News the bill was a tool to block discrimination.
“The most dangerous place for someone with Down syndrome is in the womb,” she said Friday. “You shouldn’t have to be born to be protected from the tragedy of disability discrimination. It’s great to see lawmakers acknowledging what we all know to be true – that people with Down syndrome have lives. worth living.”
Republican Senator Nancy Barto of Phoenix said her proposal protects the most vulnerable and restores dignity to aborted fetuses by demanding that they be buried or cremated. Part of the legislation grants, in the case of surgical abortions, mothers the right to determine “the method and place of final disposal of bodily remains”, according to the fact sheet. It also contained restrictions on medical abortions.
“This bill is about restricting abortion care and prohibiting abortion, and it’s not about protecting people with disabilities as the sponsor would have us believe,” said Marilyn Rodriguez of Planned Parenthood Advocates. of Arizona. She called it a “cruel attempt to once again limit abortion, this time targeting families seeking the option after learning that their fetus has developed a disability.”
While the bill’s future is uncertain, Republicans control the governorship and both houses of the state legislature.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.