Arizona House passes abortion bill

April 11, 2012 at 9:25 PM
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PHOENIX, April 11 (UPI) -- The Arizona House has approved a bill banning most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and it is now goes to Gov. Jan Brewer.

The House approved the measure Tuesday, following the lead of the state Senate, which passed it last month, The Arizona Republic reported Wednesday. The Republican governor has five days to sign it, veto it or let it go into effect next summer without her signature.

Supporters of the bill said the legislation protects the unborn fetus, which they say can feel pain at 20 weeks old.

"Is the baby inside a woman's body a human?" asked supporter Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Glendale. "My answer, I believe, is yes. It is unacceptable to end the life of a human."

Rep. Cecil Ash, a Republican who represents the 18th district, said the bill is bad policy and believes women faced with a fetal abnormality may need longer than 20 weeks to make a decision about the pregnancy.

"This bill crosses the line from setting policy to practicing medicine," Ash said.

House Bill 2036 would also allow doctors to prescribe medication abortion pills only through the seventh week of pregnancy and require clinics to perform an ultrasound 24 hours before an abortion instead of the current 1 hour, the Phoenix newspaper said.

Clinics would also be required to post signs saying it is illegal to coerce a woman into having an abortion and doctors would be required to provide more information about health risks under the new bill.

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