Gov. Ducey signs law adding rules for born-alive abortions

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(Source: MGN Online) (Source: MGN Online)
PHOENIX (AP) -

PHOENIX (AP) -- Gov. Doug Ducey has signed legislation that will oblige doctors who perform abortions to try to revive fetuses that show any signs of life and to have the needed equipment on hand.

Ducey signed the legislation backed by the anti-abortion group Center for Arizona Policy on Friday.

The Legislature's approval of the bill came after another anti-abortion group released a video from October 2014 showing an activist secretly recording an Arizona doctor who performs abortions discussing born alive cases.

Advocates of the measure say it is necessary to ensure that babies born alive are given life-saving care. Opponents say it's an unnecessary state intervention between a doctor and a patient.

Both the House and the Senate voted on the measure Wednesday. Just one Democrat voted for the bill.

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Arizona enacts law adding rules for born-alive abortions

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Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation Friday toughening and expanding an existing abortion law. The Republican-controlled Arizona Legislature passed the bill as the latest action in its yearslong string of anti-abortion measures.

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WHAT IT DOES

Senate Bill 1367 requires doctors who perform abortions to try to revive fetuses that show any signs of life and to have the needed equipment on hand. It would also require clinics that perform abortions at 20 weeks or more to meet the equipment standards, mandates enhanced reporting and adds definitions of what signs of life require action. An amendment to the bill provides exemptions for fetuses that are diagnosed with a "lethal fetal condition." Doctors would still be required to report those cases. Current law requires doctors to provide life-saving measures if a fetus is alive.

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SUPPORTERS

Supporters say the law will ensure babies who survive abortions are given life-saving care. They cite two cases in Arizona in which abortions resulted in live births but the infants died. Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod says doctors should treat born-alive cases with the same humane care and concern they would any premature baby. Ducey is an abortion opponent. He made no comment on his action.

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OPPONENTS

Opponents say the measure would cause unnecessary pain to infants born too early to survive or with defects that will lead to their deaths. During committee testimony, neonatologist Dr. Peter Stevenson testified that the current standard of care is not to resuscitate fetuses delivered prior to 22 weeks nationwide.

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UNDERCOVER VIDEO RELEASE

The House approved the bill Wednesday, the same day a California-based anti-abortion group released a video from October 2014 showing an Arizona doctor who performs abortions discussing procedures for delivering intact fetuses. Herrod's group said the video proved the need for the new legislation. Pro-abortion rights groups said the timing of the video's release was designated to sway lawmakers.

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OTHER RECENT KEY ABORTION MEASURES

The Legislature regularly passes measures attempting to restrict abortion and abortion providers. Last year it voted to repeal two laws on abortion previously signed by Ducey, after state attorneys said they appeared to be indefensible in court. The governor later signed another bill making it easier to cut off Medicaid funding to providers that fail to segregate taxpayer money from other funds used to provide abortions.

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OTHER STATES

The Guttmacher Institute, a researcher group that supports abortion rights, says 35 states and the U.S. Congress have enacted laws requiring lifesaving measures for born-alive cases during attempted abortions, with many dating from the 1970s. But none go as far as Arizona's proposed law, said Elizabeth Nash, Guttmacher's senior state issues manager.

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