Arizona Gov. Signs Bills Banning Abortion After 15 Weeks & Gender-Affirming Treatment For Youth
19:03 GMT 30.03.2022 (Updated: 13:29 GMT 06.08.2022)
© AP Photo / Jacquelyn Martin / Abortion rights advocates hold signs while anti-abortion demonstrators walk by during the annual March for Life in Washington, DC.
© AP Photo / Jacquelyn Martin /
Bills restricting abortion rights and LGBTQ rights have proliferated in recent years, in many cases being sponsored by the same conservative lawmakers.
On Wednesday, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed three bills into law that heavily restrict abortion procedures, outlaw gender-affirming hormone treatment and sex-reassignment surgeries for kids and also ban transgender youth from competing on girls' sports teams.
The bills signed were SB 1138; which bans medical professionals from providing transition procedures to children under the age of 18, including puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and gender affirmation surgery; SB 1165; which bans trans girls from kindergarten through 12th grade from playing on girls' sports teams; and SB 1164, which bans abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy.
In a Wednesday statement, Ducey said the two bills are "common-sense and narrowly-targeted to address these two specific issues — while ensuring that transgender individuals continue to receive the same dignity, respect and kindness as every individual in our society." He added that by signing SB 1164, he had "affirmed Arizona’s commitment to protecting the lives of preborn children."
The bills have aroused outrage from supporters of women's rights and LGBTQ rights.
"We ALL deserve to thrive, but these bills attack the wellbeing of many Arizonans – especially those who are already marginalized," the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Arizona said about the trio of bills.
"SB 1138 is a cruel and potentially life-threatening bill that would harm transgender youth for whom gender-affirming services are medically necessary. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the nation’s other leading medical and mental health professionals oppose this legislation, which interferes with their ability to provide best-practice, often life-saving care," said the Human Rights Campaign, a nationwide LGBTQ rights advocacy group.
“These are just kids, and they just want to play” sports, Jennifer Brown, a mother of a transgender daughter, told Arizona's Public Broadcasting outlet. “This isn’t about scholarships, this isn’t about big money. This is about kids trying to be part of a team and trying to be as normal as humanly possible.”
Arizona Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema, who is the only openly bisexual member of the US Senate, has not commented on the bills.
Arizona follows a nationwide trend in passing all three bills, as other conservative-dominated states have passed similar laws concerning abortion and trans athletes in recent months. However, the Republican governors of Utah and Indiana bucked that trend last week, vetoing trans athlete bans in their respective states.
The US Supreme Court heard arguments about several abortion-restricting laws late last year, including a 15-week ban in Mississippi and a six-week ban in Texas, which is considered the nation's most restrictive. Their rulings are expected before the end of the summer and could impact the court's 1973 ruling in Roe vs. Wade, which legalized abortion in the US.
LGBTQ rights activists argue that a 2020 Supreme Court ruling that banned employment discrimination against LGBTQ workers carries widespread implications that ban other forms of anti-LGBTQ discrimination as well, which the Biden administration has affirmed. In June 2021, the US Department of Justice filed statements of interest in lawsuits in West Virginia and Arkansas, saying that bans on trans athletes and trans youth healthcare are unconstitutional.