Brewer to sign new Arizona abortion limits into law - East Valley Tribune: Politics

Brewer to sign new Arizona abortion limits into law

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Posted: Friday, April 1, 2011 8:07 pm

Gov. Jan Brewer will sign the latest set of restrictions on abortions.

And she will do it Saturday night at a ceremony organized by a group which eventually hopes to outlaw the practice entirely.

The measure, approved this past week, will require that abortions induced through medications be performed only by a doctor. That requirement now exists only for surgical abortions.

When the bill takes effect later this year, it will end the existing practice of permitting trained nurse practitioners to administer RU-486.

Bryan Howard, chief executive of Planned Parenthood Arizona, said the net result will be that abortions will no longer be available at clinics in Flagstaff, Yuma and Prescott. He said that is because Planned Parenthood does not have enough trained doctors to send to the rural areas.

Howard also said the requirement for a doctor to oversee the procedure also will mean delays for women seeking to terminate abortions in Phoenix and Tucson.

Gubernatorial press aide Matthew Benson said Brewer's decision should be no surprise.

``The governor has a strong pro-life record and believes that this legislation furthers actions to protect the unborn,'' he said.

Other provisions in the bill will require medical professionals to offer patients a chance to see the ultrasound which is routinely performed before an abortion as well as to hear any fetal heartbeat.

Sen. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, one of the prime sponsors of the legislation, said while she opposes abortion, that is not the purpose of this bill. Instead, she said, it is to provide the same protections for women who terminate a pregnancy with RU-486 as those which exist in cases of surgical abortion.

She said nothing in the legislation bars a woman from proceeding with an abortion if she wants.

Tonight's ceremony is being hosted by the Center for Arizona Policy which helped craft the legislation. Among the organization's principles is ``protection of human life from the time of conception to the end of natural life.''

Brewer, in her response to a 2010 candidate questionnaire from CAP, said she supports a prohibition against abortion except where necessary to prevent the death of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest.

This will be the second abortion restriction Brewer has signed this week. She also inked her approval to legislation to make it a crime for a doctor to terminate a pregnancy if he or she knows the reason the woman wants the abortion is to select the race or gender of the child.

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