Arizona has ‘banner day’ for pro-life legislation

Ron Johnson speaks with Sen. Dean Martin on Feb. 1 in front of the state capitol
Ron Johnson speaks with Sen. Dean Martin on Feb. 1 in front of the state capitol


The Arizona House of Representatives on Wednesday passed several notable pro-life bills, including a proposed state ban on partial-birth abortions, several regulations on abortion procedures and better tax credit support for crisis pregnancy centers and other non-profits.

A statement from the Arizona Catholic Conference said the multiple victories made Wednesday “a banner day.”

“All of these bills still need to get through the Senate, but I don't remember another single day where so many of our bills were passed on the floor,” commented Ron Johnson, Executive Director of the Arizona Catholic Conference (ACC).

The Abortion Consent Act, HB 2564, passed by a vote of 36-19. It requires informed consent before abortions; more meaningful parental consent; rights of conscience protections for health care providers, including pharmacists; and statutory guarantees that prohibit non-doctors from performing surgical abortions.

Under the informed consent provisions of the bill, a 24-hour “reflection period” is mandated for any woman seeking an abortion, the Arizona Republic reports. The bill also requires these women to be informed of alternatives to abortion, the government assistance available to them if they carry the pregnancy to term, the details of the nature of the killing procedure and the risks associated with it, and the probable gestational age and physiological characteristics of the unborn baby.

The bill uses the phrase “unborn child” and not “fetus.”

The parental consent changes in HB 2564 mean that minors who seek an abortion must receive written notarized consent from a parent or guardian.

Bill sponsor Rep. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, described the regulations as “reasonable” as women too often are not making an informed decision.

According to the Arizona Republic, Rep. Olivia Cajero Bedford, D-Tucson, charged that the measure “assumes that women don’t think through their abortion decisions and that the state must do the thinking for them.”

In a February interview, Ron Johnson told CNA that the bill was “the most significant piece of pro-life legislation we’ve done in Arizona.” He said past proposals had been vetoed by then-Governor Janet Napolitano. He expressed hope that the new governor will be more supportive of the pro-life cause.

The ban on partial birth abortions, HB 2400, passed by a 37-19 vote. The ACC said the bill was important because “it enables local prosecutors to bring legal actions in order to make sure this horrific procedure is never performed in Arizona.”

HB 2286, which passed by a 55-1 vote, helped streamline the charitable organization tax credit which the ACC says benefits crisis pregnancy centers and other non-profit groups serving the poor.

Further, the scholarship tuition tax credit was made permanent under HB 2288, which passed 33-23.

The ACC expressed gratitude for the “extremely high number of e-mails” concerned citizens sent to legislators in response to an ACC action alert.

“Your quick response made a tremendous impact on legislators at a critical time,” the ACC statement said.

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