Ariz. House panel backs major bill on abortion

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PHOENIX -- A major abortion bill has cleared its first hurdle at the Arizona Legislature.

The House Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday endorsed the Republican-sponsored bill on a 5-0 vote, with Democratic opponents boycotting the hearing and not voting on the measure.

The legislation would require a pre-abortion waiting period and mandatory disclosures to women seeking abortions. It also allows pharmacists and health care providers to refuse to participate in abortion or emergency contraception on moral grounds. Other provisions toughen the existing law on parental rights.

Former Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano vetoed every anti-abortion bill that hit her desk. The new bill could find favor with new Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, who has supported anti-abortion measures.

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