Gov. Jan Brewer signed legislation Tuesday making it a crime for a medical professional to perform an abortion on a woman knowing that the reason is the gender or race of the child.
The legislation also would make it illegal for any individual or organization to solicit or accept funds from anyone if these were earmarked specifically to finance race- or gender-based abortions. Brewer, who has signed every other abortion restriction sent to her, did not provide an explanation.
Rep. Steve Montenegro, R-Litchfield Park, said he sponsored the bill because there is evidence that some parents are choosing to abort girls. His main evidence was a study based on the 2000 census which showed that among Asian-American families with two girls, the chances of the third child being male was 50 percent higher than what otherwise might be expected.
The issue of race-based abortions stems from an undercover video showing a Planned Parenthood representative — not in Arizona — accepting money from someone who claims they want to limit the number of African-American babies.
Foes of the bill have said it is illegal, running afoul of federal court rulings which generally say a woman has an absolute right to terminate a pregnancy, at least during the first trimester, with the state not entitled to inquire the reason. But Montenegro said that is trumped by federal anti-discrimination laws.
Several other new restrictions on abortion are still pending in the Legislature.