Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has signed what may be the first legislation ever to ban abortions over ethnicity.
The new law makes it illegal for doctors to perform abortions or provide financing for an abortion based on the sex or race of the fetus or a parent's race. The maximum punishment if convicted is 3 1/2 years in prison.
Supporters of the measure say it will stop sex and race discrimination against the unborn.
"We are a multicultural society now and cultures are bringing their traditions to America that really defy the values of America, including cultures that value males over females," said state Sen. Nancy Barto, a Scottsdale Republican who supports the bill.
When the bill was being debated, supporters said they wanted Arizona to prevent discrimination-based abortions, and they disagreed with opponents over whether there's evidence that race and sex selection-based agendas are actually occurring in Arizona.
Critics said there's no evidence that selective abortions occur in Arizona, and doctors could face jail time if they lose a newly required affidavit that an abortion isn't for selection purposes.
The New York-based Guttmacher Institute, which tracks U.S. abortion laws, said the statute is the first to adopt a race selection ban on abortions. Illinois, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania already have laws that ban abortion for the purpose of gender selection.