Anti-abor­tion bill is cruel, un­nec­es­sary, dis­hon­est

The Arizona Republic - - Valley & State - EJ Mon­tini Colum­nist Ari­zona Re­pub­lic USA TO­DAY NET­WORK

It is im­pos­si­ble to be cruel, in­tim­i­dat­ing, dis­hon­est and at the same time ... moral.

But each year, the Repub­li­cans who con­trol the Ari­zona Leg­is­la­ture give it a try, al­most al­ways in the form of some new anti-abor­tion leg­is­la­tion.

And al­most al­ways the politi­cians are act­ing at the be­hest of the Cen­ter for Ari­zona Pol­icy, the con­ser­va­tive anti-abor­tion lob­by­ing group with strings at­tached to Repub­li­can politi­cians from the gov­er­nor on down, ma­nip­u­lat­ing them like per­fect lit­tle pup­pets.

Last year, it was a new law that will add more pain to griev­ing cou­ples who, for med­i­cal rea­sons, must ter­mi­nate a preg­nancy and who have noth­ing to do with the abor­tion bat­tle.

This time around, the state House passed a vari­a­tion of Se­nate Bill 1394 that in­cludes a se­ries of un­nec­es­sary ques­tions that must be put to women seek­ing abor­tion ser­vices.

Cathi Her­rod of the Cen­ter for Ari­zona Pol­icy, which pushed the orig­i­nal bill, said the pur­pose of the leg­is­la­tion was to pro­vide “bet­ter ser­vice” for women seek­ing abor­tions.

That isn’t what Her­rod or her group want, how­ever. They want no ser­vice. They should just ad­mit it. Own it. So, too, should their pup­pets in the Leg­is­la­ture.

Repub­li­can Rep. Ed­die Farnsworth said, “What this bill is about is get­ting in­for­ma­tion. And I be­lieve there are those of you who be­lieve that abor­tion is the safest. And maybe it is. Maybe it is be­cause we re­quire re­port­ing.”

It’s not about get­ting in­for­ma­tion, ei­ther.

It’s about in­tim­i­da­tion. About mak­ing a pa­tient and her doc­tor un­com­fort­able.

The pa­tient would be asked whether the abor­tion is health-re­lated or elec­tive. There would be ques­tions about rape and in­cest and do­mes­tic vi­o­lent and even sex traf­fick­ing. And the women would be asked if she was be­ing co­erced into hav­ing the pro­ce­dure.

If the bill is that use­ful, why is the Ari­zona Coali­tion to End Sex­ual and Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence op­pos­ing it?

Ja­son Vail Cruz, the coali­tion’s sex­ual-vi­o­lence pol­icy co­or­di­na­tor, said the group wor­ries forc­ing vic­tims to dis­close an as­sault when they haven’t cho­sen to do so could be re­trau­ma­tiz­ing.

Vail Cruz said, “It re­ally adds an­other layer of trauma to a sit­u­a­tion that’s al­ready fraught with a lot of stigma and nerves. This is just an over­reach.”

So in­stead of pro­vid­ing use­ful in­for­ma­tion or use­ful ser­vice the pa­tient and her physi­cian would be co­erced into an­swer­ing ques­tions that no one in the Leg­is­la­ture — or any­one else — has any busi­ness know­ing.

Rep. Athena Sal­man, a Demo­crat, de­scribed it this way: “This bill would

in­tim­i­date pa­tients, in­tim­i­date women who are seek­ing abor­tion ser­vices, and it also makes pro­vid­ing an abor­tion more oner­ous to providers.” She’s right.

If the bill’s spon­sors, sup­port­ers and cre­ators said as much, the leg­is­la­tion would still be cruel and un­nec­es­sary. But at least they’d be hon­est about it.

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