As obstetrician/gynecologists, officers of the Arizona Section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and constituents in District 6, we are alarmed that recently elected Rep. Walt Blackman and Sen. Wendy Rogers have kicked off the 2021 state legislative session by introducing dangerous abortion restrictions that do not represent the values and priorities of our patients and our fellow Arizonans.
Instead of addressing the real challenges facing Arizona communities, Blackman is pursuing H2650, which makes abortion punishable as homicide, with capital punishment, for both the physician and the woman seeking care. Rogers introduced S1383, which bans abortions after a detectable heartbeat -- with felony penalties.
These bills illustrate a profound misunderstanding of obstetrical care, pregnancy, and the deeply complex and personal circumstances pregnant women face. If they become law, only one offers an exception — in cases where a pregnancy threatens a woman’s life, meaning a physician would have to wait until a patient is on her deathbed before intervening.
Abortion would always be a felony in any other situation. That includes a family that is struggling because they have learned that their desired pregnancy is one in which their child would never live outside the uterus. Though they would not have a child for more than a few minutes, the woman would need to continue her pregnancy or be tried for homicide. The same would be true for a woman who is raped and becomes pregnant.
We recognize that abortion is a complex issue for many, including physicians and patients. But by criminalizing women and forcing clinicians to deny their patients' needed care, these bills go too far. They do not reflect the values of Blackman and Rogers’ constituents. In Arizona, 70% of people support a woman’s right to choose to end a pregnancy in at least some circumstances.
Bills like this are dangerous, and it is incumbent upon us all to call on our elected officials to oppose them — for the well-being of our community and families.
KATHERINE GLASER, MD, MPH
KATHLEEN HARNER, MD, MPH