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AZ Lawmakers Pass 20-Week Abortion Ban

By Andrew Chow, Esq. on April 12, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Arizona lawmakers have approved a controversial 20-week abortion ban that would also impose additional requirements on doctors, abortion clinics, and the state's health department.

Arizona's House of Representatives voted 37-22 in favor of the bill, which already passed in the state Senate, Reuters reports. The bill now heads to Republican Gov. Jan Brewer for approval; Brewer has not announced her position on the bill, but a spokesman emphasized her "strong and consistent pro-life record."

Supporters of the bill have cited research that suggests a fetus can feel pain beginning at 20 weeks of gestation. But critics, including some Republicans, say the bill goes too far.

"This bill crosses the line from setting policy to practicing medicine," Republican Rep. Cecil Ash, who voted against the bill, told The Arizona Republic.

Arizona's 20-week abortion ban would still allow an abortion if continuing the pregnancy would risk death or "create serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function," according to Reuters.

The bill would also require women to undergo an ultrasound at least 24 hours prior to an abortion, up from the current 1-hour requirement, The Republic reports. Clinics would have to post signs saying it's unlawful to coerce a woman to get an abortion.

Doctors and the state's health department would also be required to provide additional information about abortion's risks. The bill mandates a state-run website with adoption information and images of developing fetuses, according to The Republic.

Arizona's 20-week abortion ban, if approved by the governor, would take effect this summer. In Arizona, about 2% of abortions -- about 200 in 2011 -- are performed after 20 weeks of gestation, according to the group behind the bill.

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