Despite there being no evidence to support state Senator Nancy Barto's claim that "sex-selection abortions are happening in this country," Governor Jan Brewer signed a controversial bill into law banning race/gender-based abortions.
The new law forces any doctor who performs an abortion to sign an affidavit confirming that the reason for the abortion wasn't the race or gender of the fetus.
A violation of the law is a class 3 felony.
Opponents of the bill say there's no evidence to suggest that abortions being performed for either of those reasons is a problem in Arizona. They say the new law "is just to further damage the reputations of women who get an abortion."
We sent the bill's author, state Representative Steve Montenegro, and Barto emails asking them to produce any evidence that these types abortions are happening in Arizona.
They never got back to us.
Aside from the law tackling a problem that doesn't actually exist -- wasting legislators' time and taxpayers' money -- it poses several problems.
For starters, lying on a form about why you want an abortion is pretty easy to do, so in reality, this is simply a symbolic jab at women who get abortions. Or, in the words of Senator Kyrsten Sinema,"this legislation spreads myths that are untrue, and the implication that women make decisions based on these motives in our country is offensive."
Not to mention another significant problem -- let's say a woman and her significant other have a falling out after learning they're pregnant. What's to stop a woman's bitter baby-daddy from falsely reporting that his ex is having an abortion based on race or gender out of spite? As hard as it is to prove someone's having an abortion for one of those reasons, it's equally difficult to prove that they're not.
Like other controversial far-right-wing policies, Arizona is the first state in the entire country to have a law like this on the books -- thus furthering the state's reputation as the epicenter of far-right-wing whack job-ism.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.