Arizona to Consider Bill Banning ‘Race-Based Abortion’

The anti-choice movement has consistently attempted to tar reproductive freedoms as anti-black genocide. Most recently, Rick Santorum said that it was “almost remarkable for a black man” like Obama to support abortion rights, and Terry Heck believes that Obama’s pro-choice position made him a “disgrace” to “his ancestors” like Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass.

Now, a state legislator in Arizona wants to “criminalize abortions if they’re sought because of race or sex,” reports Cronkite News:

If a state lawmaker has his way, women seeking abortions in Arizona would be required to sign documents saying they’re not terminating a pregnancy because of the fetus’ race or sex.

Rep. Steve Montenegro, R-Litchfield Park, is sponsoring two bills that would criminalize abortions if they’re sought because of race or sex. Doctors knowingly performing abortions for those reasons would face Class 3 felony charges.

Michelle Steinberg, an Arizona policy manager for Planned Parenthood, said women should never have to make a case to get an abortion and called the bills demeaning and bizarre.

“This could be a slippery slope in terms of requiring women to disclose why they’re choosing abortion,” she said. “Women should never have to present a case to get an abortion.”

Montenegro didn’t respond to several requests for interviews left with his office and with a spokesman for House Republicans. However, he told Capitol Media Services that abortion clinics are targeting minority areas and that more females are aborted than males.

Steinberg said the fact that minority women seek more abortions stems from other problems.

“This idea that minority women are having abortions at higher rates than white women speaks more to rates of poverty, access to contraception and a lack of sex education,” she said. “This is not racial genocide for God’s sake; this is a real problem that we’re not addressing.”

U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, a Republican representing Arizona’s second district, in 2009 sponsored similar legislation: the Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act. The bill, which never made it out of committee, would have criminalized abortion because of the “sex, gender, color or race of the child, or the race of a parent.”

Illinois and Pennsylvania have laws prohibiting sex-selection abortions. Several other states, including Georgia, Mississippi, New Jersey, Idaho and Oklahoma have tried to enact legislation that would prevent sex- or race-selection abortions.

Roy Spece, a lawyer and professor at the University of Arizona’s law and medical schools who co-authored a book on cases of bioethics and the law, said Montenegro’s bills could move Arizona backward.

“We could return to the era when you have hospital committees who would decide why each specific woman’s reason for having an abortion is sufficient,” he said.