Partial-birth abortion ban moves through Committee

January 25, 2009 by  

HB 2400, a bill banning the gruesome Partial-birth Abortion procedure in Arizona, passed the House Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday by a 6-0 vote, all six Republicans voting for the ban.  

The same proposal was twice vetoed last session but pro-life GovernorJan Brewer is expected to welcome the opportunity to ban the horrendous practice in Arizona.   The  federal law is, for all practical purposes, unenforceable in states lacking a law banning the practice.

Understandably, nobody testified in opposition in committee  – after all,  how can such an action be defended in the United States of America?   (Blurring the lines between live birth and infanticide, everything except the head of an unborn baby is delivered and then the baby’s brain is vacuumed out.)

Committee Members were inundated with e-mails demanding we vote against the bill, however.   The e-mails were computer-generated by Planned Parenthood and filled with inaccuracies, including claims that:

  1. partial-birth abortion is already banned under Arizona law.  That law was blocked from going into effect by a federal court when it was passed in 1997 (the case was called Planned Parenthood of Southern Arizona v. Woods). 

  2. that the bill has “no exceptions including for those women for whom the procedure is medically necessary.”  Section B of the bill clearly includes an exception when the life of the mother is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury.

  3. and finally, the information was totally slanted by saying it “is an issue on which the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled” – they neglected to mention that the Supreme Court ruled against them and in favor of the ban. 

The e-mails also ignored all descriptions of what the procedure is and simply refer to it as “the federal abortion ban” which makes no sense.

Coverage of the bill in the media including the following FYI:

House committee approves bill dealing with abortion procedure

Cronkite News Service
PHOENIX (Wednesday, Jan. 21) _ Advocates and Republican lawmakers said Wednesday they hope Jan Brewer’s rise to the governor’s office will mean a better chance of success for legislation aimed at restricting abortion.“Governor Brewer has made it clear that she has different views than Governor Napolitano did on a number of issues, including the life issue,” said Cathi Herrod, president of Center for Arizona Policy, a conservative think tank. Herrod made her comments by phone after the House Health and Human Services Committee approved a bill dealing with an abortion procedure sometimes characterized as partial birth. Later in the day, Brewer, a Republican, took the oath of office to replace Democrat Janet Napolitano as governor.HB 2400 would make it illegal for a doctor to perform the procedure unless it is necessary to prevent a woman’s death or disability. It also would establish a maximum prison term of two years for physicians found guilty of performing the procedure.

Napolitano, who supports abortion rights, twice vetoed similar bills last year. In six years as governor, she also vetoed six other pieces of legislation dealing with abortion, including a bill that would have required a 24-hour waiting period before a woman receives an abortion and another that would have required that parental consent forms for minors to have abortions be notarized.

Bryan Howard, chief executive of Planned Parenthood Arizona, noted in a statement that it was the committee’s first meeting under new Republican leadership in the House and Senate as well as the start of Brewer’s term as governor.

“If this is a signal about the weeks and months ahead, our children and our families are going to suffer,” Howard said.

Rep. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, a primary bill sponsor and chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, criticized Napolitano’s vetoes and said she is confident Brewer would sign the bill.

“Any reasonable governor would have signed the bill and will sign the bill,” Barto said after all six Republicans on the committee recommended approval.

The panel’s three Democrats were not present. Reps. Phil Lopes and David Bradley, D-Tucson, were at the presidential inauguration, Barto said. Rep. Ed Ableser, D-Tempe, wasn’t present.

Rep. Andy Tobin, R-Paulden, the House majority whip and a primary sponsor, called the bill “the ultimate health care bill for children.”

“This is a black-and-white issue to me and most Arizonans,” Tobin said. “Let’s be clear: There is nothing that is extreme about this bill. What’s extreme is this procedure.”
Napolitano twice vetoed similar bills, saying they would duplicate federal law. Former President George W. Bush signed a federal ban on the procedure in 2003.

Proponents of HB 2400 say it allows local prosecutors to file charges instead of relying on U.S. attorneys, who must follow the direction of the attorney general. The federal law also requires prosecutors to establish that the procedure involved interstate commerce.

The Legislature approved a ban on the procedure in 1997, but a federal court ruled it unconstitutional. A later U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the federal ban found it constitutional.

Bill would ban partial-birth abortions

Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services Last updated: January 23, 2009 – 6:44PM

Hoping for a different result this time, state lawmakers took the first steps today to make partial-birth abortions illegal.

HB2400, adopted without dissent by the House Committee on Health and Human Services, makes some major changes in the state’s original 1997 law that outlawed the procedure under which a partially delivered fetus can be aborted. That original law never took effect after a federal judge concluded it was flawed.

Since that time, however, Congress has adopted its own ban on such late-term abortions. And the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 2003 ruling, upheld the constitutionality of that language.

But Ron Johnson, who lobbies on behalf of Arizona’s Catholic bishops, said Arizona needs its own law.

The problem, he said, is that federal laws can be enforced only by federal prosecutors. Johnson said having a valid state law on the books opens the door to each of the state’s 15 county attorneys bringing charges against doctors and others who violate the law.

And Rep. Rick Murphy, R-Glendale, one sponsor of the measure, said he believes it is important to ensure that anyone who performs the procedure is prosecuted. He called the measure “the ultimate health-care bill for children.”

The language of HB2400 is designed to mirror the federal law, a move Murphy believes will immunize it from future legal challenges, including an exception from the ban to save the life of the mother. And it allows a doctor accused of breaking the law to seek an opinion from a medical board that the procedure was necessary.

No one testified against the bill. There also were no votes against it: All the Democratic lawmakers on the committee were absent to attend the inaugural events in Washington.

Lawmakers approved the measure last year — twice — only to have both versions vetoed by Gov. Janet Napolitano.

She acknowledged that second version was, in fact, identical to the federal law which has been upheld. But she rejected it anyway, saying that lawmakers should “focus our collective efforts to remedy the root issue of unwanted pregnancies by addressing such important topics as family planning and the prevention of sexual violence against women” rather than passing new criminal laws.

Rep. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, the prime sponsor of the legislation, said she is hoping that a new administration will yield a different result. Gov. Jan Brewer, a former state legislator, has supported prior efforts to restrict abortions.

But Kim Sabow, press aide to Brewer, said the new governor will not comment at this point on the bill.

Barto said she does not know whether partial-birth abortions are being performed in Arizona and not being prosecuted federally.

“Our abortion reporting is woefully inadequate,” she said. Barto said a state law will plug the possible gap in enforcement.

The bill now goes to the full House.

For further information see: Center for Arizona Policy


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