Arizona’s governor signed bills Wednesday that will ban abortions after 15 weeks, block transgender girls from playing on women’s sports teams and outlaw gender confirmation surgery for anyone under 18.
Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, signed into law the controversial trio of bills despite pushback from activists and as the Supreme Court considers a Mississippi abortion law that many believe could ultimately reverse Roe v. Wade.
A dozen other states have limited trans girls’ participation in female sports, while Arizona is the third state to block surgeries.
“This legislation is common-sense and narrowly-targeted to address these two specific issues – while ensuring that transgender individuals continue to receive the same dignity, respect and kindness as every individual in our society,” Ducey claimed in a letter explaining his support for the law.
Of the surgery ban, he said, “this is a decision that will dramatically affect the rest of an individual’s life, including the ability of that individual to become a biological parent later in life.”
The civil rights group Human Rights Campaign condemned Ducey for signing the bills.
“Gov. Ducey has chosen discrimination over protecting the well-being of vulnerable children,” State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel Cathryn Oakley said in a statement. “This isn’t leadership, it’s cowardice.”
The abortion bill outlaws all abortions after 15 weeks except in “medical emergencies.” If a doctor performs an abortion after 15 weeks, he or she could face a felony criminal charge and revocation of his or her license. Women who receive abortions wouldn’t face charges.
The bill is similar to Mississippi’s abortion bill that is currently under review by the highest court in the land. Ducey has previously expressed support for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Ducey said in his signing letter he believes “it is each state’s responsibility” to protect the unborn.
“In Arizona, we know there is immeasurable value in every life – including preborn life,” he said.
Abortion rights groups bashed the bill, while Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs took to Twitter to call the movie a “giant step backward for reproductive freedom & women’s equality” in the state and across the country.
“Gov. Ducey’s signing of the extreme & misogynistic abortion ban clarifies the very real & dangerous consequences of electing leaders who are willing to throw away our rights,” said Hobbs, a Democrat who is running to replace Ducey, who is set to be term limited out of office.
With Post wires