Arizona’s 20 Week Abortion Ban Is Latest Attack on Women’s Reproductive Rights
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer last week signed into law the Women’s Health and Safety Act, which reproductive rights advocates say could harm women. The new legislation requires schools to promote raising a baby, or adoption, as the best outcomes of a pregnancy and it requires clinics to notify patients against being coerced into abortion. It also requires that a woman have an ultrasound no sooner than 24 hours before an abortion, a considerably longer period of time than the previous 1 hour required by Arizona state law. The most controversial provision of the act bans abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy except in cases of “serious risk” and according to the “good faith clinical judgement” of the doctor.
Abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy are rare and usually only undertaken in cases of medical emergency. However in Nebraska, a state with a very similar 20-week abortion ban with a medical exception, a woman last year was forced to carry her baby to term even though tests showed the baby would die at birth. Danielle Dever’s doctors were so fearful of prosecution for performing an abortion at 20 weeks that they refused her the procedure. Dever wrote a testimony against Arizona’s Women’s Health and Safety Act saying, “Because lawmakers in my home state of Nebraska passed this sweeping abortion ban, my family’s loss a year and a half ago became a nightmare.”
GUEST: Sarah Posner, senior editor for Religion Dispatches and author of God’s Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters
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