The following guest post comes to us via Kelley Dupps, public policy manager for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona.
Senate Bill 1367, also known as the “live delivery” or “fetal torture” bill, depending on your worldview, was signed into law on March 31 by Gov. Doug Ducey.
Proponents of SB 1367 framed the bill as one that would give “survivors” of abortion a “chance at life” by requiring abortion providers to be trained in and stock equipment needed for “neonatal resuscitation” to keep the baby alive by any means necessary. Opponents pointed out that the chances of a late abortion resulting in a live delivery are slim to none, and the law would have “cruel consequences for grieving parents.” Families who learn their baby has fatal defects would be denied the chance to hold their newborn for the brief time they have with it, instead forcing doctors to perform heroic measures that could cause extreme suffering. Parents whose babies won’t have more than a few minutes or hours of life deserve to decide for themselves how they will spend that precious time.
Doctors will be bound to a law written by people who don’t understand how medicine is practiced.
SB 1367, an abortion bill that will do nothing more than traumatize patients, was introduced by extremist politicians looking for a fight with Planned Parenthood — although Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona intentionally stayed out of the debate. Planned Parenthood Arizona (PPAZ) does not perform late abortions, and we didn’t want deceptive lawmakers to distract the public by turning SB 1367 into a “Planned Parenthood bill,” which would draw focus from more pertinent underlying issues. To be clear: This bill stigmatizes abortion, denies compassion to families facing heartbreaking decisions, and does not impact the services provided by the amazing health care professionals at Planned Parenthood. PPAZ stands in solidarity with patients in need of health care and providers of legal, late abortions.
In the face of science, SB 1367 doubles down on the obscure and morbid aspects of abortion care in hopes of getting closer to the extremists’ coveted abortion ban. SB 1367 would require fetuses delivered at 20-24 weeks to be given “lifesaving” measures, regardless of the clinicians and patients in the room, regardless of the nonexistent instruments made tiny enough to achieve “lifesaving” measures, regardless of the ethics, morality, and humanity around grieving families and the care their specialists provide.
As the bill was being debated, doctors came to the Capitol to testify that the specific “lifesaving” measures in the bill were simply not feasible. Instruments are not made small enough to intubate or provide other prescriptive “remedies” called for in SB 1367. Doctors will no longer be able to use their best medical judgment to assess the clinical situation and help parents make the best decisions they can for their families. Instead, they are bound to a new law — one that was written by people who don’t understand how medicine is practiced. Patients and family members also descended upon the Capitol to share the reality of many legal, late abortions; a million different scenarios with the same sad ending. Unfortunately, their heart-wrenching testimony did not sway the Republicans and one Democrat who, undeterred by facts or social norms, passed SB 1367 and proudly announced they had rubber-stamped yet another law for Center for Arizona Policy.
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona is fighting to ensure all Arizonans have access to health care, especially the health care offered at Planned Parenthood, because we all deserve high-quality nonjudgmental care, access to birth control, and medically accurate and inclusive reproductive health information. That access should not depend on one’s ZIP code, immigration status, LGBTQ identity, or income.
Preparations for 2018’s midterm elections are already underway, as this election will be crucial in curtailing the power of the Trump administration nationally, and extremist agendas here in Arizona. Your involvement is more important than ever.