Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Arizona Abortion Law: Requiring an Affidavit Excluding Race or Sex as Reasons

Race-selective and Sex-selection abortions are the subject of a new statute in Arizona.  According to the Arizona legislature:

Evidence shows that minorities are targeted for abortion and that sex-selection abortion is also occurring in our country. There is no place for such discrimination and inequality in human society. Sex-selection and race-selection abortions are elective procedures that do not in any way implicate a woman's health. The purpose of this legislation is to protect unborn children from prenatal discrimination in the form of being subjected to abortion based on the child's sex or race by prohibiting sex-selection or race-selection abortions.

Arizona HB-2443 signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer (pictured)  506px-Jan_Brewer
today, requires an affidavit by the person performing the abortion stating "that the person making the affidavit is not aborting the child because of the child's sex or race and has no knowledge that the child to be aborted is being aborted because of the child's sex or race."  The law criminalizes the abortion provider who knows that the "abortion is sought based on the sex or race of that child or the race of a parent of that child,"  immunizes the pregnant woman, and provides that a woman's husband or her parents if she is a minor, may file a suit for civil damages, including an award of attorneys fees.

Arizona is not the first state with a statute prohibiting so called sex-selective abortion. Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Illinois all have such statutes passed in 2010.  For example, the Oklahoma statute provides:

No person shall knowingly or recklessly perform or attempt to perform an abortion with knowledge that the pregnant female is seeking the abortion solely on account of the sex of the unborn child. Nothing in this section shall be construed to proscribe the performance of an abortion because the unborn child has a genetic disorder that is sex-linked.

 Okla. Stat. tit. 63, § 1-731.2.B (2010).

Professor April Cherry's article on this issue - - -  A Feminist Understanding of Sex-Selective Abortion: Solely A Matter of Choice?, 10 WIS. WOMEN’S L.J. 161, 164 - - - published in 1995 is still one of the best pieces of scholarship on this issue.

A Georgia bill, SB 529, which would have criminalized sex-selection and race-selection as rationales for abortion did not pass


[image: Jan Brewer via]

Abortion, Family, Fourteenth Amendment, Gender, Race, Sexuality | Permalink

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Posted by: Darren Hutchinson | Mar 30, 2011 4:25:25 PM

Nice to know that my work is still relevant, but sad at the level of misogny and racism we continue to fight against.

Posted by: april cherry | Mar 30, 2011 7:38:29 PM

Race based abortion? Has this been a big problem in Arizona? Who is having these abortions because of the race of the embryo or fetus?
I think this is a way around the HIPPA privacy laws. Any woman seeking an abortion and the provider must both sign an affidavit specifying the abortion is not racial or gender based.

Posted by: dee | Apr 4, 2011 4:11:00 PM

Since Arizona seems to be a huge fan of passing laws to deal with problems that don't exist, maybe their next effort should focus on creating a civil remedy for residents of Arizona who are abducted by Martians.

Posted by: RS | Apr 6, 2011 10:24:25 AM

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