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The “small government” Republicans continue to initiate some really big, intrusive government ideas. Abortion is just one of the debates taking place in states all across the nation. In Arizona, Governor Jan Brewer signed a law that outlaws abortions performed on the basis of the race or gender of the fetus. The strictest abortion measure in the nation cleared a hurdle when it passed a state House committee in Ohio.
Under the new Arizona statute, doctors and other medical professionals would face felony charges if it was proven that they performed abortions for the purposes of helping parents select their offspring on the basis of gender or race. The women having such abortions would not be penalized. State legislators stated that Arizona is the first state in the nation to enact such a law. “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 like the non-existent beheadings that supposedly have occurred in the Arizona desert, opponents of the law say there is no clear evidence of those types of abortions occurring in Arizona. A Planned Parenthood official in Arizona condemned the governor’s action in a statement to Reuters.
“This law 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,” said Bryan Howard, the group’s chief executive.
In Ohio, the so-called Heartbeat Bill would outlaw abortions at the first detectable fetal heartbeat. The Health Committee voted 12-11 to approve the measure. The bill still needs to be approved by the House, where its future is uncertain.
Although many pro-life groups support the measure, Ohio Right to Life is against the bill, fearing legal challenges could jeopardize other gains that anti-abortion activists have made in the state. The Roe v. Wade ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a woman’s right to an abortion until fetal viability. A fetus is usually considered viable at 22 to 24 weeks. Fetal heartbeats can be detected as early as six weeks.
If the Heartbeat Bill is passed, supporters and opponents expect a lengthy legal battle that may end up in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. That may be the entire point of the legislation–to revisit Roe vs. Wade.