State lawmakers are only one step away from sending some new restrictions on abortion to Gov. Jan Brewer.
Without a word of debate, the state Senate gave preliminary approval Friday to a new requirement that women who want an abortion would have to be given certain information in person - and then wait for 24 hours before they would be allowed to terminate their pregnancy.
That includes being told:
The probable anatomical and physiological characteristics of the unborn child at the time of the procedure;
That father of the child is liable for support, even if he agreed to pay for the abortion;
Medical assistance benefits may be available for prenatal care, childbirth and postnatal care if they decided against an abortion;
Public and private agencies can assist the woman before and after the birth, whether she chooses to keep the child or put it up for adoption.
SB 1206 also would expand existing laws that now allow doctors to refuse to perform abortions to also include other health professionals, hospitals and pharmacists.
They also could refuse to dispense "morning after" pills, even to rape victims. That is based on the contention that these pills, essentially high doses of hormones, can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the womb.
The House already has approved the same language. Aside from some procedural maneuvers, all that really awaits is a final Senate roll-call vote before the measure winds up on the governor's desk.
Brewer already is on record as supporting a 24-hour waiting period for abortion. And, in a questionnaire she filled out in 2006 when running for reelection as secretary of state, Brewer said she wants to prohibit abortion except when the life of the mother is in danger.
The governor also likely would sign SB 1138, which also gained preliminary Senate approval. It enacts a new Arizona law banning partial-birth abortions where a partially delivered fetus is killed.
A 1997 state law making the procedure a crime was struck down and has never been enforced.
Since that time, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the provisions of a 2003 federal law. SB 1138 recrafts existing Arizona statutes to mirror that law.
An identical measure already has been approved by the House.
The broader abortion bill includes more than the 24-hour waiting period and the "right of conscience" provisions for medical professionals.
Another provision spells out in statute what factors a judge may consider in determining if a minor is mature enough to have an abortion without first getting parental consent. It also requires that any parental consent form be notarized.
It also would allow only doctors to perform surgical abortions, ending the practice by Planned Parenthood Arizona of letting nurse-practitioners with specialized training do early-term procedures. That would not affect "medication" abortions.