Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey Signs Sweeping Pro-Life Bill Banning Down Syndrome Abortions

Down syndrome baby

Gov. Doug Ducey (R) of Arizona signed a bill into law Tuesday that expands protections for unborn children with a prenatal diagnosis of a disability such as Down syndrome.

Senate Bill 1457 bans providers from performing abortions “knowing that the abortion is sought because of a genetic abnormality of the child.”

The bill makes it a Class 6 felony to perform an abortion solely due to the existence of a genetic abnormality, or to threaten or intimidate a woman into having an abortion because of a genetic abnormality.

“The bill does not apply to cases where the child has a lethal fetal condition and does not prohibit abortion sought for other reasons allowed by law, including the life and health of the mother,” the governor’s office stated in a press release.

“The bill also ensures a woman will not be prosecuted for failing to properly care for herself or failing to follow a program of prenatal care, or against a person who performs in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures,” the press statement continued.

The law requires the abortion provider to complete an affidavit stating the child is not being aborted due to an abnormality. It also requires the abortion provider to inform the mother that abortion sought because of the child’s race, sex, or genetic abnormality, is illegal.

“With this legislation, Arizona remains among the top pro-life states in the nation,” the governor’s Office said in a press release.

The sweeping bill also confers civil rights on unborn children at any stage of development, though, as the Arizona Republic reported, it contains “a carve-out for embryos created via in vitro fertilization.”

Additionally, the bill bans the dispensing of abortion-inducing drugs through the mail, requires fetal remains to be buried or cremated, prohibits public education facilities from performing abortions unless the mother’s life is in danger, and bars taxpayer funds from supporting research that involves aborted babies or embryos.

Ducey had already signed into law a bill that ensures women are able to easily access information about adoption and other resources during pregnancy.

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

Democrats, such as Rep. Diego Espinoza, said Ducey’s decision to sign the bill into law is not “pro-life,” but “anti-families, anti-woman, and anti-doctor.”

“I’m disappointed to see Arizona moving in this direction, ignoring the needs and desires of doctors, women, and families for an extreme political agenda,” he added, reported the Associated Press.

But Cathi Herrod, president of the pro-family Center for Arizona Policy, said about the new law, “Today, Arizonans win.”

“Arizona children diagnosed with disabilities prior to birth will no longer be discriminated against,” she celebrated. “Arizona women will be ensured commonsense safeguards if they choose the abortion pill. Arizona taxpayers will not be forced to support abortions at public colleges and universities, and the laws of Arizona will be interpreted to value all human life.”


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