PHOENIX The state House voted 3618 Wednesday to impose new restrictions on abortion.
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 there already have signed on as sponsors. And Gov. Jan Brewer already is on record as supporting a waiting period; her predecessor, Janet Napolitano, vetoed a similar measure.
"The requirement of a mandated lecture and a 24hour 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, DTucson.
But Rep. Nancy Barto, RPhoenix, said both 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.
That information is inaccurate, said Rep. Ed Ableser, DTempe, 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, DTucson, complained that no other medical procedure requires a 24hour waiting period. He said that includes vasectomies and tubal ligations, both procedures that end a person's ability to have children.
But Rep. Steve Yarbrough, RChandler, said the comparisons are not valid, saying abortion is the only medical procedure designed "to kill another human being, born or unborn.''
And Rep. Frank Antenori, RTucson, 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 these professionals to refuse to provide "morning after'' pills, even to rape victims, with no requirement that they tell a woman where she could get them.
Supporters of that provision contend these pills can act as an abortifacient, preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterine wall.
Another provision in HB 2564 would spell out in statute what factors a judge may consider in determining if a minor is mature enough to have an abortion without first getting parental consent. It also requires that any parental consent form be notarized.
And it spells out that only doctors can perform abortions, ending the practice by Planned Parenthood Arizona of letting nursepractitioners with specialized training to do earlyterm procedures.
Separately Wednesday, the House voted 3719 to adopt a revamped law banning "partialbirth'' abortions.
HB 2400 makes some major changes in the state's original 1997 law which outlawed the procedure under which a partiallydelivered fetus can be aborted. That original law never took effect after a federal judge concluded it was flawed.
Since that time, however, Congress has adopted its own ban on such lateterm abortions. And the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 2003 ruling, upheld the constitutionality of that language.
Barto called the practice "a horrific and gruesome procedure that blurs the line between abortion and infanticide.''
Lawmakers approved the measure last year twice only to have both versions vetoed by Gov. Janet Napolitano.