PRESS RELEASE: 'Enormous Harm to Women & Doctors' — House Democrats Respond to Signing of SB1457
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 27, 2021
PHOENIX— House Democratic Leader Reginald Bolding and Judiciary Committee member Representative Melody Hernandez released the following statements regarding Gov. Ducey signing unconstitutional forced-birth legislation, Senate Bill 1457. The bill faced strong public opposition, had zero support from disability rights organizations, and provoked an unprecedented outpouring of concern from Arizona's medical community that could face jail time under the law. Despite that, Ducey sided with influential far-right religious activists and a slim Republican majority in the House and Senate to sign one of the most extreme abortion bans in the nation.
"Arizona is a diverse, politically purple state experiencing steady economic and population growth. Signing this extreme forced-birth bill into law was a mistake that will bring enormous personal harm to Arizona women, to medical personnel and to our state's reputation and economy," said Bolding, D-Phoenix. "By criminalizing reproductive healthcare, Governor Ducey and every Republican member of the legislature have sent the message to the rest of the country and to the world that women are not respected or valued, and that they and their doctors are no longer welcome in our state. At a time when women have been the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, it's disturbing and wrong that the legislature is not focusing on policies to help them, and instead is stripping away the fundamental freedom to choose if, when and how to start or grow a family."
Rep. Hernandez, an paramedic from Tempe who has shared her personal story of performing her own abortion, added, "Had Senate Bill 1457 been law when I had an abortion using a prescribed pill, I would have run the risk of criminal prosecution. In addition to being a woman in the crosshairs of this law, I am an emergency medical services healthcare provider who could also potentially face felonies. Its tentacles don't just target doctors, but any healthcare professionals who might have helped a woman in need of emergency abortion care. No stakeholder from the disability community asked for this. Republicans will use anyone as pawns in their relentless effort to waste millions in taxpayer dollars defending this blatantly unconstitutional law in court hoping that the Supreme Court will upend current precedent on this essential form of healthcare and grant a fetus more rights than the person who is pregnant."