The 41-18 vote came after an hour of heated debate, with the chief proponent of HB 2442 in effect equating those who perform such abortions as “the people behind genocides.”
“I introduced this bill to put an end to offensive and repugnant practices which have no place in an egalitarian, multi-cultural society,” said Rep. Steve Montenegro, R-Litchfield Park. He said it will send a message that all Arizonans are valuable.
Rep. Matt Heinz, D-Tucson, said there is no evidence that sex- or race-based abortions are being performed in Arizona. Heinz, a physician, said most abortions are performed before the 12th week of pregnancy, before it is possible to determine the gender of the child.
Montenegro, however, cited seen studies — albeit on a national level — that prove otherwise. And Montenegro was openly contemptuous of anyone who would oppose what he was trying to do.
“They'll find a way to defend the indefensible. And they'll rationalize it with smooth words.”
He said the legislation is built on the simple premise that the life of a woman is equal to that of a man, or that a black person is equal to a white person.
But some people don't believe that,” he said.
“And those people do not deserve your protection and my protection, any protection. These people have wreaked enough damage in our world already. They're the people behind genocides. They tell minorities and women that they are worth less.”
Other supporters weighed in with their own reasons.
“One of the reasons that God put me in this place as a legislator is to protect the lives of innocent, unborn children,” said Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Glendale.
Rep. Chester Crandell, R-Apache Junction, said he believes lawmakers are required to protect citizens and that life begins at conception.
“If those things are put together we have a responsibility to protect any child that is conceived that may not yet be born in the state.”