For Immediate Release: Thursday, April 22, 2021
SB 1457 would criminalize doctors who provide abortion care and was designed to push access in Arizona even further out of reach
Arizona — Today, anti-choice, anti-freedom Republicans in the Arizona state legislature pushed through an extreme bill (SB 1457) attacking reproductive freedom from almost every angle imaginable. The bill now awaits Governor Doug Ducey’s signature or veto.
Republican politicians in Arizona kicked off the 2021 state legislative session by doubling down on their attacks on reproductive freedom, introducing nearly a dozen bills restricting access to abortion. SB 1457 is a sweeping bill that would threaten doctors who provide abortion care with jail time; lock into law ideological language defining when “life” begins that could lead to criminalizing people who seek abortion care; ban abortion based on the perceived reason a person is seeking care; and ban public education institutions from providing abortion counseling or referrals, among other restrictions.
NARAL Pro-Choice America Southwest Regional Director Caroline Mello Roberson released the following statement in response:
“As the pandemic rages on, anti-choice Republicans in the Arizona state legislature chose to spend their time attacking reproductive freedom instead of providing COVID-19 relief for Arizonans in crisis. Their out-of-touch priorities directly endanger lives at a time when we should be expanding access to healthcare, not restricting it. SB 1457 is an extreme bill that carries dangerous and sweeping consequences for Arizona families, preventing people from accessing the care they need and criminalizing doctors just for doing their jobs. We call on Governor Ducey to veto this harmful bill that puts ideology before science, and urge Arizona legislators to get their priorities on track so they can truly serve the needs of their constituents.”
Despite the tragic deaths of nearly 17,000 Arizonans due to COVID-19 and more than 850,000 reported cases statewide, Republicans in the state legislature haven’t acted on a single piece of legislation aimed toward providing Arizonans with pandemic relief.
Arizona already has some of the most severe restrictions on reproductive freedom in the United States, which include forcing delays before a person can receive abortion care and subjecting people to mandatory biased counseling. These restrictions disproportionately harm Black, Indigenous, and people of color; those with low incomes; and people living in rural communities. This bill is a part of a coordinated effort by the Right to maintain white patriarchal control at all costs.
Recent polling found that a strong majority (76%) of Arizona voters believe that abortion should be legal and that the government should not prevent a woman from making that decision for herself. More than half of Arizona voters agree that it is important for state legislatures to proactively protect the right to abortion through state legislation, and say they’re more likely to vote for a candidate who supports a world where people respect others’ personal decisions about parenthood and pregnancy.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates and chapters have fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom—including access to abortion, contraception, and paid family leave—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 7 in 10 Americans who believe every person should have the freedom to make the best decision for themselves about if, when, and how to raise a family.