On Tuesday, April 10, the Arizona House of Representatives passed HB 2036 by a vote of 37-22. HB 2036, called “The Mother’s Health and Safety Act”:
- Prohibits abortion after 20 weeks because of the safety risks to the mother and the pain endured by the preborn child.
- Ensures women have an ultrasound at least 24 hours prior to an abortion.
- Establishes an informed consent website which details the facts about fetal development, risks of abortion, and services available.
- Requires doctors performing surgical abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within thirty miles of the abortion facility.
Over the course of the one-hour floor debate, several members gave very heartfelt speeches as they explained their votes. Here are a few of the highlights.
Rep Kimberly Yee, the bill’s sponsor, touched on the very important and compelling reasons for HB 2036:
“This bill is about protecting maternal health and safety. When a woman has a late-term abortion that is performed beyond twenty weeks into her pregnancy …, this exponentially increases the mother’s risk of death.” She went on to say that “it is also important to recognize that the preborn baby has the ability to feel pain well before the twentieth week of life and that the medical evidence is clear that the preborn child has developed pain sensors on their face in the 7th week of life. By the twentieth week of life, sensory receptors have developed all over the body. These babies have a full complement of pain receptors at this point in development.”
Rep. Catherine Miranda,the only Democrat to support HB 2036, said:
“I feel all life is sacred. I firmly believe that how we legislate on abortion reflects the moral values of society, respect for life and dignity of all human beings is a core value of my beliefs. All of us have to answer to our constituent s every two years when we faced with getting re-elected, but as I have previously stated on the floor, after we leave this legislature, all of us must answer to a higher authority, and with that I vote yes.
“… all of us have to answer to our constituents every two years when we face re-election, but … ultimately, after we leave this legislature, all of us must answer to a higher authority. Mr. Speaker, I vote yes.”
Rep. Terri Proud of Tucson talked about how sad it is that babies are aborted because they will have disabilities or will have health problems in life. She described how her youngest daughter was diagnosed with a fatal lung disease and that although it has not been easy taking care of her, she has become a woman that now sees life as “every moment of breath taken as precious.”
Rep. Debbie Lesko: Members, to me this whole issue comes down to one question, is that baby inside a woman’s body a human? My answer is yes, and it is unacceptable to end the life of a human, whether a growing baby inside of woman’s body, whether a healthy six year old child, whether a sick child with a life threatening illness in the hospital, or whether an elderly person reaching the end of life. In all cases I feel it is unacceptable to end human life, and with that I vote aye
In possibly the most direct floor speech, Rep. Justin Pierce:
“… if you really are pro-life, this bill should not be difficult for you, and here’s why it’s not difficult for me: this bill goes about twenty weeks further than where I would go.”
“There was a comment made that this is big government coming between a woman and her doctor, the way I see this is this is government exercising its proper role to come between the knife of the abortionist and the unborn child, and I vote aye.”
The final speech on the bill came from Representative Tobin, the Speaker of the House who said,
“Little people feel pain. Little people are alive. Little people at the twentieth week are our absolute most vulnerable. Voting on the side of the very, very most vulnerable is right. Little people don’t understand tort reform. They don’t understand medical malpractice, but this bill may save some of the littlest people. Some of the littlest people may be less at risk today because of our work, and the debate is about the little people, and with that I vote aye.”