Arizona Abortion Questionnaire Bill Heads to Gov. Ducey's Desk

By Claire Caulfield
Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
Published: Thursday, April 12, 2018 - 12:35pm
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It is now up to Gov. Doug Ducey to decide whether Arizona women will be asked why they want an abortion.

On a largely party-line vote the state Senate voted 17-13 Wednesday to approve a list of questions about the reasons for deciding to terminate a pregnancy.

Senate Bill 1394 does allow a woman to refuse to answer any and all of them. But Sen. Katie Hobbs, D-Phoenix, said that does not diminish what she said is the real purpose behind the measure.

"The motivation is simply to harass and intimidate and shame the women who go in to receive this constitutionally protected medical procedure as well as the doctors who provide it,'' she said.

And Hobbs said the new requirements will lead to a legal challenge, "costing Arizona taxpayer dollars just to further one particular group's political, ideological agenda.'' That refers to the anti-abortion Center for Arizona Policy which crafted the bill.

But Sen. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, who agreed to carry the measure, said the more information that the state and researchers have about abortions and the reasons women make that choice will lead to better public policies and laws on the procedure.

Barto specifically defended asking women whether they're being coerced to terminate a pregnancy, whether they've been raped and whether they are the victims of sex trafficking.

She said there is evidence that most women in that last category in particular have had at least one contact with a health care provider. Barto said the questioning, which occurs in private, could provide an opportunity for women to seek help confidentially.

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