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Arizona: Did You Know?

Did you know that former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano had to fight anti-choice legislators to protect women's health?

During the six years that pro-choice champion Janet Napolitano was governor of Arizona, she was repeatedly forced to protect women's health from attack by Arizona's anti-choice legislature – and as soon as she was appointed to the Department of Homeland Security, her successor, anti-choice Gov. Jan Brewer, signed into law several bills that impose new burdens on a woman’s right to choose. Gov. Napolitano vetoed bills that would have imposed biased counseling and mandatory delays on women seeking abortion services, as well as a measure that would have allowed a broad range of entities to refuse to provide health-care services, including birth control, based on moral or religious objections. 

In 2008, Gov. Napolitano vetoed two dangerous anti-choice bills: AZ H.B.2263, a parental consent measure, and AZ H.B.2769, which would have criminalized so-called "partial-birth" abortion in all cases except to save the life of the woman.  This second measure emulated the federal statute that criminalized "partial-birth" abortion and was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003.  In her veto message, Gov. Napolitano said, "Rather than introducing more criminal penalties into the relationship between a woman and her physician, let us focus our collective efforts to remedy the root issue of unwanted pregnancies by addressing such important topics as family planning and the prevention of sexual violence against women." 

In their attempts to chip away at our constitutional right to privacy, anti-choice lawmakers continue to push bills restricting access to abortion, while opposing commonsense prevention measures that could reduce the need for abortion.  Former Gov. Napolitano is a prime example of the important role pro-choice governors play in the fight against this anti-choice extremism in state legislatures.



Howard Fischer, Two Abortion Bills Are Vetoed by Napolitano, Ariz. Daily Star, April 4, 2008;  Howard Fischer, Napolitano Vetoes 'Fetal Pain" Notification, Ariz. Daily Star, April 12, 2006 available at (last visited Jan 5, 2007); Robbie Sherwood, Napolitano Vetoes 4th Abortion Bill This Month, The Ariz. Republic, April 26, 2006 at 7b.

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