Arizona Capitol

Race-Based Abortion Bill Passes in State Senate. Non-Existent Problem (Almost) Solved

(Gulp) Good news, Arizona -- we're one step closer to solving a problem that doesn't actually exist in the Grand Canyon State: gender and race-based abortions.

The Arizona Senate -- which apparently thinks its oversight extends to regions of China, where these types of abortions are actually a problem -- passed a bill yesterday that would require women seeking an abortion to promise via-their signature that they're not ending their pregnancies for the aforementioned reasons. Anyone determined to be having an abortion for either reason could be hit with a felony.

As we've mentioned in prior posts on the subject, race and gender-based abortions may be a problem in places like India and China, but there's no evidence to suggest it's a problem here in Arizona.

"There is no indication that this is even an issue," Planned Parenthood Arizona spokeswoman Cynde Cerf told New Times last month.

Cerf, rather, feels that the bill "is just to further damage the reputations of women who get an abortion."

Phoenix Republican Senator Nancy Barto disagrees.

"This legislation really is needed," Barto told the Arizona Republic yesterday. "Sex-selection abortions are happening in this country, and it is time we address it head-on."

Asking people to sign a form is (ahem) really tackling the issue. In other words, 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 minor 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 (discussions families have about abortion often happen face to face and don't leave a paper trail).

Ready for the kicker? If this bill becomes law, which it likely will following a final House vote and a few flicks of the pen from Governor Jan Brewer, Arizona will become the first state in the country to make sex or race-based abortions a crime -- thus furthering the state's reputation as epicenter of far-right-wing whack job-ism.

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James King
Contact: James King