In right turn for Arizona on the issue of abortion rights, Governor Jan Brewer signed legislation Monday that places new regulations on abortion, including restrictions that her predecessor, former-Governor Janet Napolitano, vetoed each time they landed on her desk.
Among other stipulations, the new law says that mothers must wait 24 hours between their initial visit with an abortion doctor and the time they undergo the procedure.
During initial visits, mothers must be told about potential risks and alternatives to abortion by the doctor, and in what could be dubbed the macabre clause of the bill, doctors must describe physical characteristics of the fetus to the mother before she makes a final decision.
John Jakubczyk, vice-president of the pro-life group Arizona Right to Life, says that giving women the information they need is the point of the new law.
"I have met so many women who have looked at me and said: 'If I had only known,'" he says about describing the physical characteristics of the fetus. "This is common sense, and it's been a long time coming. We just want to make sure a woman has all the information and is comfortable with the decision she is going to make because it is a life-altering one."
Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Michelle Steinberg said the new requirements are a "scare tactic."
"Having a woman wait 24 hours after making a life-altering decision is a scare tactic," she sais. "Having a doctor recite government mandate is a scare tactic."
Steinberg says legislators who supported this bill are only interested in denying women access to health care.
"This is part of a national movement," she says. "Part of the intent here is to make Arizona look like Mississippi, where they only have one abortion clinic in the whole state."
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