Arizona Tries To Ban Race and Sex-Selective Abortion

The Arizona House has passed a bill that would prohibit abortions performed on the basis of race or sex. Its sponsor, Rep. Steve Montenegro, "was adamant that the bill had less to do with a woman's legal right to have an abortion and, instead, was a measure to prohibit bigotry and discrimination," according to the Arizona Capitol Times.

Republicans defending the bill from Democrats who called it a bill "in search of a problem" claimed this refuted any suggestion that "we are not here to protect the minority population." In other words, we're not racist, we just think only women carrying non-white babies — presumably many of which are women of color themselves? — should have their choices legislated extra-hard. Is sex or race-selective abortion actually an issue in the United States? Who cares about the facts again, including the very limited evidence of the existence of sex selective abortion in the United States (most abortions take place before the sex can even be detected) or the underlying socioeconomic factors that lead to the high abortion rate among African-American women?

The real-life issue with the bill is that, should it advance to law, it would require women to justify or explain their reasons for terminating a pregnancy, and seek the approval of some outside body to do so. It's not even the only draconian reproductive-rights restriction Arizona has before it: There are also bills trying to limit the prescriptions of medication abortions, such that physicians' assistants couldn't prescribe an abortion pill; a new ultrasound requirement; and banning telemedicine prescriptions of medication abortion.

Two years ago, Rep. Trent Franks, U.S. congressman from Arizona, tried to advance similar legislation on the federal level, with the Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, which never made it out of committee. Other states have tried to ban sex or race-selective abortions, with mixed success; Illinois and Pennsylvania did pass anti-sex-selection laws. Oklahoma tried to ban race-selective abortion as well, in 2009, but it got struck down by the courts.

It's a good moment to watch, if you haven't already, U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore last week on the House floor, addressing the touching concern Republicans are evincing for "black babies."

Arizona Lawmakers To Consider Anti-Abortion Bills [AZ Central]
Bill To Ban Selection Abortion Gets Initial OK [AZ Capitol Times]
Republican Lawmaker Wants To Ban Abortions Sought Because of Race Or Sex [AZ Capitol Times]