Abortion Battle in Arizona

In Arizona, teenage girls are getting caught in the crossfire of the abortion wars. The State Senate voted 18-12 yesterday in favor of a bill that would add additional barriers to teenagers seeking abortions in the state without the consent of a parent or guardian. Currently, a girl must be found “mature and capable of giving informed consent” by a judge before being allowed to have the procedure. The new bill would require the judge to further conclude that there is “clear and convincing evidence” of the girl’s maturity based on “her experience level, perspective and judgment.”

Paula Aboud, a Democratic Representative from Tucson, argued that the new law will complicate the legal process, making it more difficult for judges to determine if a girl is mature enough to handle an abortion. “The extra steps required by this bill do nothing more than attempt to make it as difficult as possible for a minor to seek a bypass,” Aboud said.

The bill now heads to Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano’s desk. Perhaps offering a clue of how she’ll respond, in 2006 she vetoed a legislative change to the same law that would have required a girl seeking an abortion without parental consent to consult with a physician beforehand. “Requiring consultation with a physician, as opposed to other medically trained personnel, would impose an unduly burdensome cost,” the governor wrote at that time.

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