Lawmaker plans to resubmit same bill Napolitano vetoed
PHOENIX – During the last legislative session, Rep. Andy Tobin, R-Paulden, sponsored a bill that among other things would have increased penalties for those who perform a type of late-term abortion sometimes characterized as “partial birth.”
HB 2769 passed both houses of the Legislature, drawing opposition from most Democrats. Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, vetoed it, as she has other legislation that would impose abortion restrictions.
Tobin said he’s planning to introduce the same bill during the upcoming session. And he expects sponsors of some other abortion-related legislation vetoed by Napolitano to do the same.
“I believe the people of Arizona were for some of the bills she vetoed,” Tobin said. “And I do not see a problem in resubmitting the same bill without any change if it is something I think the people want.”
A reason for Tobin’s persistence: Napolitano’s appointment to become secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for incoming President Barack Obama. Napolitano’s confirmation, which can’t happen before late January, would pass the governorship to Secretary of State Jan Brewer, a Republican.
A Cronkite News Service review of Napolitano’s vetoes found eight for legislation involving abortion. The bills included one to require written parental consent for a minor seeking an abortion, another to prohibit public funding of insurance coverage for abortions and another to require doctors to tell women more than 20 weeks pregnant that a fetus experiences pain during an abortion.
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix, said laws restricting abortion could cause women to not get proper medical attention.
“I think it will decrease the ability of women to decide what they feel is best for their bodies,” Sinema said. “It could have a chilling effect on rural women and younger women who may have no other place to go and who need this medical care.”
Sinema said she also worries about legislation that could restrict organizations that promote sex education.
“Their job is to educate women on various methods and the passage of some of these bills could hinder that,” Sinema said.
Brewer served in the Arizona House of Representatives from 1983 to 1986 and in the State Senate from 1987 to 1996. She is planning for the transition but has yet to outline an agenda should she become governor.
J. Charles “Chuck” Coughlin, a political consultant who ran legislative campaigns for Brewer and was named to her transition team, told The Arizona Republic that Brewer believes that government should protect those who can’t protect themselves, including the unborn. Coughlin didn’t return a telephone message left by Cronkite News Service.
Michelle Steinberg, director of public policy for Planned Parenthood of Arizona, said members of her organization are sad about Napolitano’s expected departure..
“Governor Napolitano was a tremendous supporter, and it is hard to say what will happen when she leaves,” Steinberg said. “We hope Brewer comes in with an open mind and we can find common ground.”
With Arizona having one of the nation’s highest rates of teen pregnancy, Steinberg said the new administration should work with groups such as Planned Parenthood because of their common goals.
“We all want the same by seeing the number of abortions and unplanned pregnancies to go down,” Steinberg said. “And the way we think to do that is to provide information so people are armed to make the decision that best fits them.”
Tobin said he’s optimistic that Brewer would sign his bill and listen more than Napolitano when it comes to issues important to conservatives.
“I think Brewer will be a positive change for Arizona,” Tobin said. “She is very responsive to the state’s needs, and I believe the public will respond well.”
Here are abortion-related bills vetoed by Gov. Janet Napolitano:
• SB 1077: Would have required a 24-hour waiting period prior to an abortion and required doctors, among other things, to inform women of alternatives to abortion, the risks of abortions and to tell women seeking abortions the age of the fetus.
• HB 2254: Would have required physicians to tell women seeking to terminate pregnancies likely to have reached 20 weeks, among other things, that a fetus has the physical structures to experience pain.
• HB 2666: Would have required that parental consent for a minor to receive an abortion be notarized.
• HB 2776: Would have established a burden of proof for a minor seeking a judicial bypass order to receive an abortion rather than obtaining parental consent.
• SB 1325: Would have prohibited the use of public funds for costs associated with health insurance plans to cover abortion-related services.
• HB 2263: Would have required a minor seeking an abortion without parental consent to provide clear and convincing evidence to a Superior Court judge that she is mature enough to give consent.
• HB 2769: Among other things, would have increased penalties for physicians who knowingly perform a type of late-term abortion sometimes characterized as “partial birth.”
• SB 1048: Similar to HB 2769, it would have allowed physicians accused of violating the statute a hearing before boards governing doctors and osteopaths to determine whether the patient was in physical danger and would have made that determination admissible at trial.