State senators voted to make race- and gender-based abortions illegal, but not before adding provisions which could send doctors and others involved in these acts to prison.

Monday's 21-5 vote came amid charges and counter-charges about whether girls and blacks are being targeted in the womb. Lawmakers from each side cited figures designed to back their contentions.

The only clear thing is that the bill, which already has been approved in similar fashion by the House, is likely headed to the governor's desk, possibly by the end of the month. And Jan Brewer has signed every measure restricting abortion that has been sent to her.

HB 2443 does more than make criminals out of doctors who terminate a pregnancy knowing the woman's reason is to select the race or gender of the child. It also imposes criminal penalties on anyone who solicits or accepts funds to finance abortions based on race or sex.

Violators would face a presumptive prison term of 3.5 years.

That latter provision is aimed at Planned Parenthood. Proponents of the measure, citing undercover videos, say organization representatives have taken money from individuals interested in limiting births to African American women.

Sen. Don Shooter, R-Yuma, cited figures from the Frederick Douglass Foundation which said that 30 percent of all abortions in Arizona are to black women. The latest census figures show people who identify themselves as black at 4.1 percent of the population.

But the Arizona Department of Health Services reports that in 1999, the most recent year available, 7.3 percent of all abortions were to black women.

Shooter said he was got the press release from Rep. Steve Montenegro, R-Litchfield Park, the sponsor of the legislation. Montenegro, in turn, said he was relying on the foundation, which describes itself as Christian and pro-life; the foundation's founder, Timothy Johnson, said he got the Arizona statistics from a researcher on his staff.

But Montenegro said any discrepancy in the data is irrelevant.

"No one should be subjected to abortion because they're the wrong sex or race,'' he said.

Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Tucson, said that's just a cover for a new restriction on abortion.

"This is one of the most offensive, odious pieces of legislation I've ever seen,'' she said.

"It's sexist, it's racist, it's paternalistic, it's disrespectful of women's decision making and moral agency,'' Lopez continued. And she chided the Republicans for pushing this legislation in the name of preventing discrimination while they have cut funds for health care and ignored "institutionalized poverty.''

"It seems that the proponents of this legislation only believe human life is valuable when it's in utero,'' she said.

The figures cited by Shooter were only part of the question of the need for the bill.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix, said there is no evidence of gender-based abortion in this country. She said the problem is confined to countries like China where parents generally are limited to a single child, and India where parents worry about the cost of a dowry to marry off a girl.

But Sen. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, cited a study based on 2000 census figures from U.S. families of Asian ancestry. It found that when a family already had two girls, the chances of the third child being male was 50 percent higher.

That, Barto said, shows evidence that parents are using abortion for gender selection.

The issue of race is more complex.

Sinema said the argument of race-based abortion makes no sense, as a woman knows at least 50 percent of the baby's background, if not 100 percent. But Sen. Gail Griffin, R-Hereford, said the issue is money.

She read a release from Day Gardner, president of the National Black Pro-Life Union which said Planned Parenthood is willing to accept "racist donations, even to the point of being excited at possibility of taking money specifically to kill a black baby.'' That release also said Planned Parenthood puts its facilities "strategically in minority and urban neighborhood.''

The undercover videos are not from Arizona.

Montenegro said his legislation is not an effort to chip away at what federal courts have said is the right of women to terminate their pregnancy.

"The intent of this bill is not to deal with abortion,'' Montenegro said. "The intent of this bill is to deal with discrimination.''

But Senate President Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, said he sees the bill as a means to that end.

"We have an obligation to protect the most innocent among us, the unborn,'' he said. "Whatever we can do to limit the number of deaths of these unborn children, I'm always a 'yes' vote.''

Pearce said the only time a woman should have a choice is when the decision is saving the life of the mother or the unborn child.

"Now you have a real hard decision that a family must make,'' he said. "But until then, it is our responsibility to save lives.''

(12) comments

lilmadguy

Yes, comparing the New York Times, a new source known and respected around the world for more than a century, to some guy's blog, is totally valid.

I'm just wondering what evidence would be enough to convince you that:

1. Obama isn't the anti-christ
2. He is an American citizen
3. He isn't a communist
4. He isn't a muslim
5. That he isn't anymore socialist than Ronald Reagan or any other president.

I don't doubt that people disagree with matters of policy, and it's important to have a counter-balance on such things. As my father always said, "if two people agree on everything, all the time, one of them is not needed."

The issue is that with sites like the one you reference is not one of policy. It is if he is a citizen, clearly something that would have been investigated before he was ever elected to any position, let alone running for and being elected to the highest office in this country. In addition, the policy decisions that the president has made so far are more in line with the people who voted against him rather than those who did, for example:

1. Keeping the practice of warrantless wiretaps.
2. Keeping Gitmo open.
3. Escalating the war in Afghanistan.
4. Lowering taxes on the weathiest Americans
5. Lowering taxes on business'
6. Increasing the budget for the DOD.
7. Indefinite detention
8. Military tribunals
9. Attacking Libya
10. Allowing health insurance companies to run healthcare reform.
11. Twice as many deportations taken place under this administration than the Bush presidency in the same time frame.

The list is long, but the point is made.

Moreover, income taxes have decreased for almost all Americans under his presidency.

So, why is it that you hate him?

Slabside

Ah yes, the ever reputable Obama Times. So, when writing a scholarly paper, do you cite Wikipedia too? [wink]

lilmadguy

Ah yes, the ever reputable birther website. So, when writing a scholarly paper, do you cite Wikipedia too?

Cerulean

Slabside,
I think, therefore I am, I think.

Of course you are my bright little star,
I've miles and miles of files
Pretty files of your forefather's fruit
And now to suit our
Great computer
Your magnetic ink. . . .

Song by Graeme Edge

Alas, the great and wonderful lilmadguy answered your query beautifully.

lilmadguy

Slabby,

" I ask you to prove it. Nobody at Harvard remembers him and his transcripts are locked up. So prove it." -

Okay.

First Black Elected to Head Harvard's Law Review

BOSTON, Feb. 5 (1990)— The Harvard Law Review, generally considered the most prestigious in the country, elected the first black president in its 104-year history today. The job is considered the highest student position at Harvard Law School.

The new president of the Review is Barack Obama, a 28-year-old graduate of Columbia University who spent four years heading a community development program for poor blacks on Chicago's South Side before enrolling in law school. His late father, Barack Obama, was a finance minister in Kenya and his mother, Ann Dunham, is an American anthropologist now doing fieldwork in Indonesia. Mr. Obama was born in Hawaii.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9c0ce2dc1631f935a35751c0a966958260

It's amazing what you can discover by reading.

Slabside

Cerulean, you're right... I love IHOP flapjacks! Now to the meat of the matter, you posted: "Not only was President Obama a community organizer as he worked his way through Harvard Law School. He also was the president of the Harvard Law Review and he taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School." I ask you to prove it. Nobody at Harvard remembers him and his transcripts are locked up. So prove it.

Cerulean

Not only was President Obama a community organizer as he worked his way through Harvard Law School. He also was the president of the Harvard Law Review and he taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School.

Also, he was a freely elected senator of Illinois for three years.

Slabside eats at IHOP more than anyone else I know of. They do make a good hearty breakfast but I would not recommend sitting there for any length of time counting flap jacks.

Slabside

LinMesa, what you call Republicans intruding in personal lives I call stopping the practice of indiscriminate murder of defenseless babies.
I dislike President Obama because he has not one ounce of experience for the job. He was a community organizer that began his political career in the living room of a known terrorist. He has flip flopped on more issues than pancakes at IHOP. He has spent America so far into debt that my children's grandchildren will never pay off the debt. Need I go on?

LinMesa

"But Montenegro said any discrepancy in the data is irrelevant." My point exactly. I have always said that these people do not depend on actual facts. Also, I thought the big thing with Republicans is smaller government and yet, they intrude in our personal lives all the time. Hypocrisy???

One more thing. I posted a comment on AzCentral Sunday asking for all those comments made by people who dislike President Obama so much to please give me their personal opinion on him. Not remarks made by Republican politicians, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh or anything from Fox news. There has not been one single reply, which proves another point!! They are just repeating what they hear. They don't care about facts either.

Cerulean

Up to 50% of all pregnancies end in spontaneous abortion, it is natural. Sometimes the reason is known, most of the time it is not. To choose to abort a pregnancy is natural too. Never allow anyone to 'guilt' you into a decision one way or the other.

Dale Whiting

And DrJCA1,

My biggest gripe is the seemingly disconcerned attitude that the "holier-than-thou" set have about constitutional issues. I have yet to meet a "Right to Life" person who did not use their Christian Faith as support. Yet here in the Good ol' USA we say we believe in a strick seperation between church and state, religious principles and ideals on the one hand and on the other hand, the politics of making this a safe and uniform place for all to "live under rights" in peace.

And where many of these "Right to Lifers" abhore some "boogy man" fear of the adoption of Muslim law, Shiria law, I wonder how they do not make a parallel connection between adoption of Shiria Law [the boogy man] and that segment of Christianity that also classifies abortion as murder. Do they not realize that Shiria Law also is Right to Life law? What's good for the goose must be held as also good for the gander. Double standards are no standards at all. If we out law abortion as murder, we establish religious principles as the law of the land. And we trample on the concept of our having each adherent to faith make a free choice to adhere to the tenants of their faith under penalty of law! Compulsion is not "right," rather "choise" is right.

Certainly your experience with patients is more diverse than is mine. But I have met several who years after having had an abortion regret it. Adoption would be my recommendation [provided of course, there were not medical considerations]. And where my faith would strongly sanction a doctor for practicing abortion [not sure whether there are exceptions or not], I have no problems with doctors of other faiths who do. Choice is the ultimate right to life.

DrJCA1

The entire abortion issue has been debated forever and both sides have some valid points as well as some photo op points. My biggest issue with some of the comments from these lawmakers and commenters is the holier-than-thou attitude they have. Unless you are 100% perfect and holy, keep your beliefs to yourself and stop trying to shove them down other people's throats.
In my many decades of practicing medicine I have both recommended abortions and recommended against it, depending on the individual circumstances. I have my opinions, but a a medical professional, I must keep them to myself (same holds true for those drinking, smoking, and eating themselves to an early grave). It is too bad that the lawyers who are in government cannot do the same.

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