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Arizona governor outlaws abortions based on sex, race

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer [official website] on Tuesday signed into law a bill outlawing abortions [JURIST news archive] performed based on the sex or race of the fetus. Representative Steve Montenegro sponsored HB 2442 and HB 2443 [legislative materials], which separately outlaw abortions based on the child's sex or race. Under the new abortion law, a physician or health professional who does not report known or suspected violations will face felony charges and civil fines and may be liable for damages. The bill states:

Evidence shows that minorities are targeted for abortion and that sex-selection abortion is also occurring in our country. There is no place for such discrimination and inequality in human society. Sex-selection and race-selection abortions are elective procedures that do not in any way implicate a woman's health. The purpose of this legislation is to protect unborn children from prenatal discrimination in the form of being subjected to abortion based on the child's sex or race by prohibiting sex-selection or race-selection abortions.
The law is set to come into effect 90 days after the end of the current legislative term.

Several state legislatures have recently passed restrictions on abortions. Last week, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard [official website] signed [JURIST report] HB 1217 into law, requiring women to seek counseling at a pregnancy center and wait three days before obtaining an abortion. Also in March, the Missouri House of Representatives [official website] voted in favor of legislation restricting late-term abortions [JURIST report] and imposing penalties on doctors who fail to comply with the new restrictions. The legislation, which is slated to become effective at the end of August, bans abortions of "viable" fetuses. The Oklahoma House of Representatives [official website] voted in March to approve a bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks of gestation [JURIST report]. Last month, the Kansas House of Representatives [official website] also approved several new restrictions on abortion [JURIST report].

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