PHOENIX, April 1, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – After seeing gruesome videos depicting the harvesting of aborted babies' organs for scientific experiments, Arizona lawmakers moved to make the practice illegal in their state.
On Thursday, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed that prohibition into law, along with two other pro-life bills at the center of a swirling national debate.
The state's ban on fetal organ and tissue harvesting, S.B. 1474, establishes protections for the unborn that go significantly beyond federal law.
Federal statutes make it a felony to sell human organs for “valuable consideration” but allow abortionists to receive reasonable reimbursements for their actual costs in the process.
The new Arizona law prevents the sale or donation of aborted babies' organs, limbs, or tissue for scientific research. The tissue of the baby or the mother can only be used to test their own health.
In his signing statement, Gov. Ducey explicitly cited the undercover videos of Planned Parenthood officials – including some in neighboring Texas – negotiating or agreeing to the sale of aborted fetal tissue as a motivation for signing this bill.
“In light of recent allegations of unlawful practices and procedures on a national level, it is a responsibility I will not take lightly,” he said. “I will continue to support efforts that affirm the protection of the preborn.”
A second bill placed the state of Arizona at odds with actions taken by the Obama administration this week.
S.B. 1324 requires abortionists to follow the guidelines established by the FDA at the time RU-486 was legalized in 2000. The original regimen only allowed for chemical abortion to take place through the first seven weeks of pregnancy, and required a more expensive dosage. Abortionists had long disregarded the federal statute in favor of the less expensive option.
But the FDA changed those guidelines this week, after the bill had already arrived on the governor's desk.
Gov. Ducey said, although the new federal guidelines created legal ambiguity for the bill, “I will always stand with those advocating life.”
Planned Parenthood Arizona spokeswoman Jodi Liggett said the bill is “pretty silly and is all about face-saving.”
“It was about creating barriers for women to get this kind of abortion care,” he said.
However, studies show that the stricter guidelines reduce the incidence of complications requiring mothers to undergo emergency surgery.
The third bill prevents state employees from making donations to any abortion provider through the states charitable deduction program. Planned Parenthood received $7,410 in 2014, the governor's office said.