ONTD Political

Arizona governor signs law banning most late-term abortions

1:17 pm - 04/13/2012
PHOENIX -- Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer signed into law on Thursday a controversial bill that bans most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, giving Republicans a win in ongoing national efforts to impose greater restrictions on abortion.

The measure, which state lawmakers gave a final nod to on Tuesday, would bar healthcare professionals from performing abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, except in the case of a medical emergency. Only a small number of these abortions are performed in the state.

With Brewer's signature, Arizona joins six other states that have put similar late-term abortion bans in place in the past two years based on hotly debated medical research suggesting that a fetus feels pain starting at 20 weeks of gestation.

Critics argued that the 20-week deadline would likely prevent timely diagnosis of anomalies in the fetus.

Supporters disputed that. They also said risks to women's health increase after 20 weeks, and they said a fetus can feel pain after that point in development.

Brewer signed the bill two days after House approval completed final legislative action.

She said in a statement that the bill "strengthens Arizona's laws protecting the health and safety of women, and recognizes the precious life of the preborn baby."

Nancy Northrup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement the bill means some women at risk of pregnancy complications "will be forced to decide whether to proceed with their pregnancies in the dark, before they have all the information they need to arrive at their choices."

Georgia lawmakers approved a similar bill in March that now awaits the signature of Republican Governor Nathan Deal.

Late-term abortions will still be allowed in Arizona in situations where continuing a pregnancy risks death or would "create serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function." This is to be determined by a physician's "good faith clinical judgment."

The law also requires a woman to have an ultrasound at least 24 hours prior to having an abortion, instead of the one hour previously mandated under state law.

State officials are required to create a website that details such items as the risks of the procedure and shows pictures of the fetus in various stages.

The U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortions nationwide in 1973 but allowed states to ban the procedure after the time when the fetus could potentially survive outside the womb, except where a woman's health was at risk.

There are several different ways to do a late-term abortion. One of the most common ways was, yes, an intact dilation and extraction (IDX). The anti-choicers are actually right in that this is the way it is performed. Wikipedia has a pretty accurate description here - the reason that this is done is because the cervix/birth canal and the rest of the woman's body has not prepared for childbirth, and often cannot pass a head quite so large. There are other reasons, like having an intact body for burial.

A dilation and evacuation (D&E) is when the cervix is dilated and a tube is inserted into the uterus to suction the remaining tissue (including the fetus) out. Anti-choicers like to portray this as a doc moving around in a woman's uterus hacking up a fetus like a horror movie or something. As far as I know, the physician does not manually go into the womb to break up the fetus - it's done by the vacuum, but it's usually done at a point in which the fetus cannot feel any pain. Some physicians do kill the fetus before starting the procedure. The physician then uses a forceps to remove any remaining fetal tissue, and usually after that a curette is used to ensure that all the material has been removed. The entire thing takes 10-30 minutes from start to finish depending on how large the fetus is, so it's not a protracted thing.

This page was loaded Apr 19th 2018, 5:17 pm GMT.