Ariz. Passes Bill Banning Late-Term Abortions

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The Arizona legislature has banned most late-term abortions and put new requirements in place that could prevent more women from getting abortions at all.

Lawmakers passed the bill on Wednesday that bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, except for cases of medical emergency.

The state would also be required to maintain a website describing fetuses at different stages of development and presenting women with alternatives to abortion.

Supporters say the legislation protects unborn children who may feel pain at 20 weeks gestation. State Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Glendale, said her vote was based on the answer to one question.

"Is the baby inside a woman's body a human?" she asked. "My answer, I believe, is yes. It is unacceptable to end the life of a human."

State Rep. Cecil Ash, also a Republican, opposed the bill, saying he believes the legislation crosses the line from setting policy to practicing medicine because it prevents women who discover a fetal abnormality at 20 weeks from having time to make their own decision.

"Most women who have reached the 20th week or fifth month of pregnancy have already made the decision in favor of life," Ash said.

The measure passed through Arizona's House by a vote of 37-22. State Senate leaders approved the bill last month.

The late-term abortion bill now heads to Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, who is expected to sign it into law.

Arizona joins six other states to ban abortion after 20 weeks. The new law would go into effect this summer.

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