Arizona Introduces New Abortion Legislation, Renews Abortion Debate


Allyson Werner
National Beat Reporter

Arizona’s Republican-led House of Representatives introduced a new piece of social legislation on Thursday, Feb. 27, that would permit surprise inspections of abortion clinics by eliminating the requirement that state health department officials obtain a warrant before inspecting any one of Arizona’s nine licensed abortion clinics. The new legislation would also require clinics to report when an infant is born after an unsuccessful abortion.

The new measure, opposed by Democrats and Planned Parenthood, was championed by the Center for Arizona Policy, a powerful Evangelical Christian group that has championed several pieces of conservative social legislation and has strong ties to Republicans in the capital.

“[This legislation] requires abortion clinics to be subject to the same safety and inspection standards as all other health care institutions,” says the center’s website. “[It] also makes it a crime to help a minor obtain an abortion and avoid Arizona’s parental consent requirement.”

Arizona’s generally very conservative policies frequently spark national debate, and this new legislation is no exception.

“[This legislation] seems like something both pro-life and pro-abortion people can agree on because it would close unsafe abortion clinics,” said University of California, Santa Barbara Students for Life Vice President Katie Devlin, a second-year economics major. “[Abortion] is anything but ‘safe, legal, and rare,’ as proponents of legalized abortion [claim] it [is].”

On the other hand, VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood Leader Jessica Castañeda, a fourth-year sociology major, thinks the new legislation is unnecessary.

“Abortions are [already] a safe procedure which are already highly regulated,” she said. “I’m angered by this [bill] because the Republicans are trying to make it seem like they are helping women by naming it the ‘Women’s Health Protection Act.’ This bill is another way for conservative Republicans to gain control over women’s reproductive rights.”

UCSB is no stranger to the abortion debate. Students for Life recently held a protest in front of UCSB’s Student Resource Building (SRB) on the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court that extended the right to privacy to women seeking abortions.

Pro-life students set up a memorial to commemorate millions of unborn children and sought to raise student awareness about the number of abortions in this country.

“Many students we talked to were surprised by the fact that over 3,000 unborn children are aborted every day in the U.S.,” said Devlin.

VOX also made an appearance to commemorate the 41st anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. The organization tabled near the SRB not far from the protesting pro-life students.

“I felt that this event went extraordinary well,” said Castañeda. “The student population was supportive of us and especially liked the fact that we were giving out free condoms.”

Castañeda encouraged students to attend VOX’s Rally for IV Unity this Friday, Mar. 7, at 7:30 p.m.

Arizona’s House of Republicans is in discussion on the bill and will vote on it in the future.