Bill banning discriminatory abortions fails in Arizona as pro-lifers vow to try again


A bill that would have outlawed abortions based on a preborn child’s disability has failed in the Arizona Senate. SB 1457 failed in a razor-thin vote, notably after one Republican joined Democrats in voting against it.

Earlier this month, SB 1457 passed the Arizona House after Rep. Regina Cobb agreed to reduce the penalty for doctors found to have committed eugenic abortions. Originally, abortionists would face up to seven years, as violating the law would have been a Class 3 felony, but it was downgraded to a Class 6 felony instead, which carries a lighter sentence — no longer than 18 months. “It spread too broad of an ad on the genetic abnormalities and it also gave such a restriction on our universities, we would have been in a serious bind,” Cobb told 12News.

After those changes were made, the bill was passed on to the Senate, where it failed.

Senator Tyler Pace told the Arizona Republic that he is pro-life but couldn’t support the bill. “I pride myself on trying to make our bills better, so long as I can stomach or support the underlying issue. In all honesty with you, that’s what’s made this bill so hard,” he said, adding, “I’m not supportive of abortion in many of its ways. But I get very hesitant when we get into the specifics like this, especially in health care.”

READ: Disability advocates fight for an end to discriminatory abortions in Northern Ireland


The Associated Press reported that Pace had tried to work with other Republicans to fix the problems he had with the bill, but an agreement satisfactory to Pace could not be reached, as he said it was a “large reach” to ask a jury to “determine medical judgment,” rather than a medical board.

“There are moments like this where as legislators we just don’t know what to do,” Pace told the Senate chamber after voting no. “We can pass a bill that we know has errors and we hope will be fixed through the promises of some very good legislators who keep their promises, as they have. Or we don’t pass it.”

The bill had been backed by the Center for Arizona Policy (CAP), which vowed to try to pass the bill again. President Cathi Herrod tweeted that the group would continue working to pass pro-life laws. “Today’s shortage of votes to pass #SB1457 is disappointing,” she wrote. “We will continue to work to get the truth out about the need for 1457.”

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