According to a recent Reuters report, Governor Jan Brewer on Tuesday March 29th signed a new bill into law that makes Arizona the first in the US to outlaw abortions performed on the basis of either the race or gender of the baby.
Under the new Arizona statute, doctors and other medical professionals would face felony charges if they could be shown to have performed abortions for the purposes of helping parents select their offspring on the basis of gender or race. The women having such abortions however would not be penalized.
Backers of the measure said the ban is needed to put an end to sex- and race-related discrimination that exists in Arizona and throughout the nation. They insist the issue is about bias rather than any broader stance on abortion.
"Governor Brewer believes society has a responsibility to protect its most vulnerable -- the unborn -- and this legislation is consistent with her strong pro-life track record," a spokesman said.
But opponents have maintained that while such abortions may be happening in other countries like China no clear evidence can found of it occurring in Arizona.
Planned Parenthood Federation the largest abortion provider in the US predictably condemned the governor's action in a statement to Reuters. "This law according to Bryan Howard, the group's chief executive creates a highly unusual requirement that women state publicly their reason for choosing to terminate a pregnancy -- a private decision they already made with their physician, partner and family,"
The law however contains no explicit provision requiring doctors to ask their patients their reasons for seeking an abortion, nor for patients to disclose such reasons. But opponents of the measure feel passage of the new law might make them feel more inclined to do so.
The law would take effect 90 days following the end of the current legislative session.