ARIZONA - A controversial Arizona abortion bill that makes it illegal to abort a fetus based on race or gender was signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer Tuesday, Reuters reports.
The new law does not penalize women who have the alleged discriminatory abortions.
However, medical professionals would face felony charges if it could be proven that abortions were performed to help parents select offspring based on the unborn child’s race or gender.
Supporters of the new law say this ban is necessary to end the discrimination that exists in Arizona and throughout the nation, stressing the issue is more about bias rather than a broader stance on abortion.
State legislators say the bill is the first of its kind in the nation, and it reportedly comes on the heels of anti-abortion groups trying to ride the momentum from the gains made by political conservatives during the November elections.
"Governor Brewer believes society has a responsibility to protect its most vulnerable -- the unborn -- and this legislation is consistent with her strong pro-life track record," a spokesman said.
But those that oppose the law say while such discriminatory practices may be happening in places like China, there is no proof that such abortions are happening in Arizona.
A Planned Parenthood official in Arizona condemned the governor’s decision.
"This law creates a highly unusual requirement that women state publicly their reason for choosing to terminate a pregnancy -- a private decision they already made with their physician, partner and family," said Bryan Howard, the group's chief executive.
The new law doesn’t mandate that doctors ask their patients why they’re aborting or that patients disclose their reasons for aborting.
However, opponents believe the new law could make the parties more inclined to do so.
The law will go into affect 90 days after the current legislative session ends.