If Arizona’s controversial 20-week abortion ban becomes law, it won’t be through the usual legislative process. The original bill didn’t make it out of the House committee responsible for it, because even some anti-choicers legislators thought it might have gone too far.
Instead, the legislation made it to a Senate floor vote in the form of an amendment to another bill that had already passed committee on the Senate side.
Now, the bill is returning to the House floor for a vote, and it remains to be seen if the House will swallow its concerns and vote it into law.
The bill — which includes numerous anti-choice measure to harrass women seeking to terminate a pregnancy, such as an increased waiting period, a trip to a website to look at fetal development pictures, and a list of adoption agencies — makes the legislation a sweeping omnibus of restrictions in a state that already leads the nation in roadblocks to safe abortion.
But among the most controversial elements is its 20-week ban, which would make abortion illegal after 18 weeks from the point of fertilization, or 20 weeks after the last menstrual period (gestational age, as stated in the text of the revised bill). That would be two weeks sooner than the original Nebraska ban or the one recently passed in Georgia, which bans terminations 20-weeks post fertilization.
The bill has been panned by a wide range of opponents, from doctors who worry that it will supersede the doctor/patient relationship to a woman who was actually affected by such a ban.
But despite the opposition, the likelihood of passage in the Senate is fairly strong, leaving it up to anti-choice Governor Jan Brewer to decide whether to sign the bill or veto.