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Arizona Outlaws Racial or Gender-Based Abortions

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on March 31, 2011 6:45 AM

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law yesterday a bill that makes it a felony for any health professional to provide an abortion if the mother's choice is based on the sex or race of the fetus.

The Arizona abortion law, which is the first of its kind in the nation, also allows the father to bring a civil action for monetary damages against offending providers.

Republican lawmakers feel that there has been an increase in abortions based on a fetus' sex or race, reports The Wall Street Journal. However, Democrats point to the lack of evidence that supports this contention.

What's interesting about the Arizona abortion law is that it only punishes doctors--not women.

Pro-choice advocates believe it will still vilify women and intrude upon their rights, reports Reuters.

For instance, because the law criminalizes a woman's beliefs, which a doctor has no control over, it's possible doctors will feel that it is necessary to ask women about their reasons for seeking the procedure.

Forcing a woman to defend and identify why she is choosing an abortion could be considered an undue burden, making the Arizona abortion law unconstitutional.

Moreover, though it's noble to want to prevent discrimination against a fetus, the law appears to, in a roundabout way, punish women for their beliefs. Sex and race-based abortions are not something to be celebrated, but it's a matter of personal choice.

Definitely expect to see court challenges to this new law in the near future. Its constitutionality is questionable at best.

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