Republicans in the AZ Lege revere human life

24 Feb 2009 06:07 pm
Posted by: Donna

In utero, that is.  The fabulous Michelle Steinberg of Planned Parenthood AZ sent me some fact sheets about the spate of heinous anti-choice bills on tap this session.  That conservative lawmakers are attacking access to reproductive health care for poor women is particularly sickening in light of the recent harsh cuts to social services and medical assistance they’ve proposed.  Seriously, it’s become a cliche in the pro-choice community that they only care about human life from conception to birth but they keep giving us reasons to say it, ya know?

HB 2400 would ban the dilation and extraction (D & X) procedure in Arizona.  The procedure has already been banned under federal law – passed in 2003, upheld in the Supreme Court (in a truly craptastic decision that allowed no exception for the woman’s health) in 2007.   Since this law is essentially redundant at this time, I surmise that they want it for two reasons:  So that it will be in Arizona’s statutes if the federal law is overturned, and to function as yet another foot in the door to ban abortion completely.  

Which is also redundant, as I pointed out a while back in a post about the nearly 40 year old Arizona criminal statute prohibiting abortion and calling for jail sentences for both the woman and her doctor. As of this writing that law is still on the books and the people who keep trying to pass laws restricting abortion have neither acknowleged it nor shown any interest in overturning it. I’ll ask again: How do you put restrictions on abortion when it was completely banned years ago? 

Pro-life-until-birth Rep. Andy Tobin called HB 2400 “the ultimate health care bill for children”. 

HB 2554 would prohibit nurse practitioners from performing abortions. These professionals can perform abortions in the first trimester and this is viewed as perfectly within the scope of their practice by the AZ State Board of Nursing. If nurse practitioners can no longer do abortions women in rural areas will find it difficult to obtain them. This will cause many of them to delay and end up having later, riskier procedures. Obviously this is another gambit to restrict abortion but I have a sneaking suspicion there’s also an age-old strain of sexism and paternalism in medicine at work here, similar to the dynamic between midwives and obstetricians. While more women are becoming doctors and more men are going into nursing, being a doctor is still viewed as a “man” job while nurse is a “lady” job. Allowing nurse practitioners to perform abortions probably smacks too much of leaving women up to their own devices, without a manly man in proper control of the situation.

In keeping with this worldview, HB 2564, the Abortion Omnibus Bill, doesn’t even give us ladies credit for being able to make an independent decision to get the abortion. It would require a 24 hour waiting period and for the patient to listen to dishonest anti-choice propaganda “information”.   Minors would require notarized parental consent – because everyone knows that if you’re too scared to tell your parents you’re pregnant forcing you to do so will undoubtedly help forge a healthy relationship.   If the minor just can’t bring herself to tell her abusive parents a judicial bypass is available, provided she can provide “clear and compelling” evidence that she is mature and capable of making an informed decision. Um, I thought that’s what the judge was supposed to figure out. 

Say, I wonder if the minor could forego the mandatory propaganda lecture since her mature decision-making ability has been vetted in court? Duh! Of course she couldn’t. She is female, hence a priori incapable of making a decision.  But really, putting these stipulations in the judicial bypass will hinder judges’ ability to expedite the cases, and cause unnecessary anxiety and stress to young girls, who may turn to illegal and unsafe methods out of desperation.

The bill would redefine a fetus as “unborn child” and a “human being from conception until birth”. See? There’s that only-human-until-birth thing again. Disappointing that they’re not getting all science-y like the ND Legislature with the nifty organism-genome-homo sapiens dealio.

The most unintentionally funny part of HB 2564:  Providers would be required to inform patients of – get this- all the services available to her if she carries the pregnancy to term.  What services will they be telling their patients about once the budget cuts take force? The ones they can go to their local church and beg for? Unbelievable.  How about we require them to watch a video of GOP leadership explaining why they want to cut millions from AHCCCS and child care subsidies?  How about a clip of Rep. Andy Biggs declaiming that “education doesn’t create jobs”?

No anti-choice omnibus bill would be complete without a Provider Refusal provision, and this one has one that would allow providers to refuse to provide information or access to abortion or emergency contraception on “moral or religious” grounds.  Funny how selective anti-choicers are about how “informed” they want women to be, isn’t it?

My next post will be about a good bill relating to comprehensive sex ed.


  1. Comment by Simon says: on February 24, 2009 8:45 pm

    Will the new Governor surprise us and take a moderate stance on social issues? Doubtful, but one can hope.

  2. Comment by Donna on February 24, 2009 9:34 pm

    Who knows? She may want to but may be backed into a corner by the reactionaries who have a death grip on the AZ GOP. I honestly hope that sanity and pragmatism will win the day over partisanship and opportunism where Gov. Brewer is concerned.

  3. Comment by Katie on February 24, 2009 11:00 pm

    I would think that the “ultimate health care bill for children” might actually include health care for children. Oh, and maybe some prenatal care as well. But then, I would be wrong. There I go trying to be all rational.

  4. Comment by Stephen on February 25, 2009 12:21 am

    If a person sincerely wants to reduce the number of abortions in this country, they can really only do it through the Democratic party. The Republican’s pro-life movement has decided to completely reject any actions geared towards reduction. Instead they will only pursue legislative bans or forcing clinics to close. It’s so strange how for them “all life is precious”, but they’re willing to ignore the abortions they could prevent today.

  5. Comment by Crabby Pirate on February 25, 2009 12:51 am

    Interesting, very interesting. I figure they’d like to push most of this stuff through before they get a thumping in ’10.

    As a pro-life democrat i’m rather torn on the whole issue (the “omnibus” that is). The bill regarding nurse practitioners and abortion is one of safety, but I don’t think it should matter much being that most programs require a PhD, as will the state of AZ by 2015, plus they have to have tons of hands-on hours. The Plan-B issue and allowing a pharmacist to choose whether to dispense the drug is ridiculous. Overall, I say we take these issues before the people and let them figure it out (as you can tell I like direct democracy).

    But in all i agree with Stephen, many, and I mean many Republicans don’t give a rats ars about life and what it means, ro when it starts. If they really did care they would want real sex ed., easier access to emergency contraceptives like Plan-b, keeping women in college (and graduating!), plus a whole host of policy efforts that are not even on the radar screen, and if they are it’s only so that they can give them the budget ax.

    What to do? The courts i imagine…rrrr!

  6. Comment by MaryJane84 on February 25, 2009 12:30 pm

    I am so outraged at the fact that “providers {are allowed} to refuse to provide information or access to abortion or emergency contraception on “moral or religious” grounds”. The next thing we’ll be hearing is that on this same ‘grounds’ women will have a harder time accessing monthly birthcontrol! This is crazy, how are they helping their anti-aborition agenda?! We will definately see a rise in unintended pregnancies and more back-alley abortions that only put women at risk for health complications.
    If Republicans really thought that “all life is precious” then we would not be seeing budget cuts targetting education, health care, and other health care services like mental health. BTW if you read the HB2564 bill it states that a women will have to undergo a 24hour waiting period to re-think the abortion to lessen any future mental or physical consequences that women might acquire from the abortion. HELLO?! How can women really get medically accurate information when programs all around AZ that help women will be suffering as a consequence of these budget cuts. This means less attention to the real needs of women…

  7. Comment by MaryJane84 on February 25, 2009 12:44 pm

    Another thing I would like to add, at irony of this bill is that the doctor performing the abortion has to do the following: {tell the woman} “The probably gestational age and anatomical and physiological characteristics of the unborn child at the time the abortion is to be performed”, quoted from the HB2564. How is this not coercing a woman to Not undergo an abortion?! This will definately mess with the woman’s mental health…This bill obviously has many things wrong with it and it contradicts itself in many ways such as what I’ve mentioned above….

  8. Comment by run for fun on February 25, 2009 12:57 pm

    I’m in shock by the comment made by Pro life Rep. Andy Tobin. How can he claim that HB 2400 is “the ultimate health care bill for children”. Arizona is a state that teaches abstinence only sex education in the state’s school system.

    Tobin needs to look at the bigger picture. Maybe the problem is not the abortion’s that are being performed within the state, but the fact that unwanted pregnancies are occurring. If the state adopted a more comprehensive and realistic sex education program, then women would know the risks of unprotected sex, and their contraceptive choices, which would ultimately reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies.

    If Tobin wants to support “the ultimate health care bill for children,” then he will get behind comprehensive sexual education in the schools.

  9. Comment by Lisa on February 25, 2009 5:34 pm

    Arizona women and family’s need and deserve policy makers who support and uphold a woman’s right to decide the course of her health care. HB2564 is absurd and so is its main sponsor and House Health committee chair Nancy Barto!

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