The Arizona State Senate [official website] approved a bill [HB 2036 materials] on Tuesday that bans abortions [JURIST news archive] after 20 weeks into a pregnancy, with an exception carved out only for medical emergencies. In addition to banning abortions after 20 weeks, the bill imposes other restrictions. It requires a woman seeking an abortion to receive an ultrasound 24 hours before an abortion [Arizona Republic report], as opposed to the one hour requirement which is currently the law in Arizona. The bill also forbids doctors from prescribing abortion pills after the seventh week of pregnancy. Representative Kimberly Yee [official website], the sponsor of the bill, declared that the bill's intention is to both protect the unborn and to protect women from dangerous abortion practices. The bill passed by a 20-10 vote in the Senate [Reuters report] mostly along party lines. The bill now moves to the Arizona House of Representatives. If the House passes the bill and the governor signs it into law, the bill will take effect this summer.
Many states have recently passed laws restricting abortion. Last week, Utah passed a law [JURIST report] requiring a woman seeking an abortion to wait 72 hours prior to obtaining the procedure. Earlier last week, the Idaho State Senate approved a bill [JURIST report] requiring a woman who is seeking an abortion to first receive an ultrasound. Earlier this month, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell [official website] signed a similar ultrasound bill into law [JURIST report]. Earlier in March, the Georgia House of Representatives passed a ban on abortions after five months into a pregnancy [JURIST report]. In February, the US District Court for the Western District of Texas [official website] ruled [JURIST report] that Texas can enforce a state law requiring women to receive a sonogram before obtaining an abortion. In July, the North Carolina state legislature overrode a governor's veto [JURIST report] to pass a law requiring a 24-hour waiting period for a woman seeking an abortion.