Arizona House passes bill that would invade the privacy of abortion patients

The House passed legislation Monday that, according to Planned Parenthood, "shames" individuals for wanting an abortion.

An Arizona bill would require hospitals to ask patients if they are victims of sex trafficking or domestic violence, if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, and if the patients are choosing the abortion or if they are being “coerced” into obtaining one. (Credit: Getty Images)
An Arizona bill would require hospitals to ask patients if they are victims of sex trafficking or domestic violence, if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, and if the patients are choosing the abortion or if they are being “coerced” into obtaining one. (Credit: Getty Images)

Arizona House lawmakers passed an intrusive anti-abortion measure Monday that would require patients to submit a questionnaire to hospitals and clinics about why they are seeking an abortion — a policy that amounts to “shaming” individuals for wanting the procedure, according to Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona.

The bill, SB 1394, would require hospitals to ask women and gender minorities if they are victims of sex trafficking or domestic violence, if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, and if the patients are choosing the abortion or if they are being “coerced” into obtaining one. It would also require patients to answer whether they are seeking an elective abortion or one out of concern for their health or the health of the fetus.

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The original version of the legislation, introduced in the Senate, proposed asking patients if they sought an abortion because they could not afford a child, did not want a child, or whether the reason was because of fetal anomalies or “relationship issues.” The House’s amended version removed those questions.

Democratic lawmakers blasted the bill during a heated debate on Monday.

“It’s none of the government’s business why a woman is getting an abortion,” said Rep. Athena Salman (D), according to the Arizona Capitol Times.

Because abortion is legal, “women don’t need to explain their reasoning to the government,” Planned Parenthood Arizona wrote in a statement following the bill’s introduction in February.

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Republicans argued Monday that the measure aimed to protect women’s health by obtaining necessary information. In that spirit, Rep. Daniel Hernandez (D) proposed an amendment to include additional questions about whether the patient has access to affordable health care and sex education.

Hernandez said the additional information about sex education and health care would help curtail abortions by preventing unintended pregnancies in the first place — a principle Planned Parenthood Arizona also supports. Jodi Liggett, the organization’s vice president of external affairs, said, “If you want less abortion, there is a kinder and more productive way to go about this … and that would be to provide meaningful access to birth control for anybody who needs it.”

But Republican Rep. Eddie Farnsworth was not convinced, claiming that “sex education is not a health care issue.”

The bill now moves to the Senate, which will vote on the House’s amendments.