Arizona Becomes First State To Ban Abortions Based on Race or Gender

March 30, 2011  |  

By Charlotte Young

In the midst of the controversy surrounding anti-abortion billboards that feature President Barack Obama or declare that “black children are an endangered species,” Arizona has become the first state to make abortions illegal based on the race and gender of the fetus.

The law was signed by Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer yesterday and will go into effect 90 days after the current legislation session.

“Governor Brewer believes society has a responsibility to protect its most vulnerable — the unborn — and this legislation is consistent with her strong pro-life track record,” a spokesman told Reuters.

Proponents say the law will help put an end to the race and gender bias that exists in the state, as well as throughout the nation.

While the new law will not penalize women seeking abortions, doctors and other medical professionals could face felony charges if it’s proven that they performed or provided financing for an abortion on the basis of the race or gender of the fetus or a parent’s race.

According to Reuters, Planned Parenthood Federation of America says the “measure may erode a woman’s rights,” and a spokesperson for the Planned Parenthood Arizona branch condemned Governor Brewer’s legislation.

“This law creates a highly unusual requirement that women state publicly their reason for choosing to terminate a pregnancy — a private decision they already made with their physician, partner and family,” said Bryan Howard, chief executive of Planned Parenthood Arizona .

There is no specific stipulation in the new law that obligates doctors to ask their patients their reasons for wanting the abortion. But critics on the new law believe that doctors may feel compelled to inquire, and that this inquiry infringes on what the patient feels is a private matter.

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