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Arizona GOP governor signs bill that bans most abortions after 15 weeks

By Shawna Mizelle and Paradise Afshar, CNN

Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill into law on Wednesday that acts as a near-total ban on abortions in the state after 15 weeks.

The Arizona law makes an exception for medical emergencies and requires physicians to file a report with the Arizona Department of Health Services if an abortion is performed after 15 weeks. There is no exception for cases of rape and incest.

The legislation, which cleared the state legislature last week, also makes it a felony for physicians to knowingly violate the new statute, but the measure says that no criminal punishment can be directed toward the maternal patient. Physicians could also face consequences such as having their license to practice medicine in the state suspended or revoked, along with fines if they are found to have given false information on forms related to the abortion.

“In Arizona, we know there is immeasurable value in every life — including preborn life,” Ducey said in a letter Wednesday. “I believe it is each state’s responsibility to protect them.”

Arizona Senate Democrats previously condemned the bill, saying, “the anti-choice, anti-freedom agenda behind these extreme bans is out of touch with the will of the overwhelming majority of Americans who support the right to abortion.”

Arizona is one of several GOP-led states, along with West Virginia and Florida, that has advanced a 15-week abortion ban bill this year. The US Supreme Court, meanwhile, appears poised to uphold a similar Mississippi law that bars abortion after 15 weeks. The fate of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide, also hangs in the balance, and anti-abortion activists are hopeful that the court’s conservative majority will strike it down.

Ducey referred to the efforts in tweet, saying, “Many states are taking similar action to protect life. We hope that the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold a similar Mississippi law in the coming weeks.”

The Arizona governor on Wednesday also signed two bills into law targeting transgender youth in the state, including one that restricts access to gender-affirming health care for minors and another that prohibits transgender athletes from competing on women’s and girls’ sports teams at some schools in the state.

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