Arizona now bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy after Republican Governor Jan Brewer on Thursday put her signature to controversial new legislation.
The 20-week abortion ban does not apply in medical emergencies, according to Fox News, defined as one where an abortion would prevent the mother’s death or “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”
However, abortion-rights advocates have labeled the law as among the most restrictive in the nation, with critics arguing that the 20-week deadline would likely prevent diagnosis of anomalies in the fetus.
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The bill includes the requirement of an ultrasound 24 hours before the procedure, according to TucsonCitizen.com.
Fox reported that the law would affect a tiny percentage of abortions performed in Arizona, echoing statements by the Center for Arizona Policy, the conservative advocacy group behind the bill, that about 200 Arizona women who were more than 20 weeks pregnant got an abortion in 2011 — or about 2 percent of the 11,000 or so abortions in the state.
Georgia lawmakers approved a similar bill in March which now only needs the signature of Republican Governor Nathan Deal, Reuters reported.
According to the news service, the Supreme Court legalized abortions nationwide in 1973 but allowed states to ban the procedure after the time when the fetus could potentially survive outside the womb.
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