- A bill proposed by an Arizona state lawmaker would charge a person who obtained an abortion and their doctor with homicide.
- A similar bill proposed in Mississippi also targets abortion providers with criminal penalties.
- Republicans in several state legislatures across the US have proposed bills to limit access to abortion.
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GOP lawmakers across the US are eyeing new restrictions on abortion in the new year, with the harshest proposals aiming to criminalise women who obtain abortions and the doctors who perform the procedure.
An Arizona bill proposed by Rep. Walt Blackman, a Republican representing Snowflake, would change Arizona law to add “an unborn child in the womb at any stage of development” as a person, allowing prosecutors to charge both the women who obtain an abortion with “homicide by abortion,” according to a report from Arizona Central.
Blackman has previously espoused staunch anti-abortion views, saying in August that people who are pro-choice need to “spend some time in our Arizona penal system,” according to the report. Under the proposal, women and their doctors could be charged with first-degree murder, a charge that carries the possibility of the death penalty.
The bill comes as a number of states consider anti-choice proposals that would place greater burdens on women who seek abortions. An Ohio law, signed by Republican Gov. Mike DeWine late last year, required fetal tissue be buried or cremated following an abortion.
In Indiana, a law signed by then-Gov. Mike Pence has finally gone into effect after a four-year legal battle with Planned Parenthood, the Tribune-Star reported. The law requires a mother to receive an ultrasound 18 hours before an abortion, which pro-choice advocates argued placed an undue burden on the person seeking an abortion.
A bill in Mississippi, also proposed by a Republican state lawmaker last week, similarly would charge women and a medical provider who provides an abortion with felony murder. As WREG reported, the state of Mississippi currently has just one abortion provider, located in the city of Jackson.
Under the Mississippi proposal, made by GOP state Rep. Dan Eubanks, an abortion provider would face a fine of up to $US25,000 and could spend up to 10 years in prison for performing the procedure.
Republican lawmakers in New Hampshire have likewise made attempts to limit access to abortion in the state. One bill, proposed by Republican Rep. Beth Folsom, would prohibit abortion after 24 weeks of gestation. Another bill, proposed by GOP Rep. Walter Stapleton, would prohibit abortion “to terminate the life of a viable foetus,” as the Concord Monitor reported.
South Carolina Republicans also put forth legislation to limit abortion, proposing a bill that would halt abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, an effort often called a “heartbeat bill.” The South Carolina proposal does not include exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest, according to The State.
Republicans in the Kansas House of Representatives last week took steps to amend the state constitution as part of their effort to overturn a 2019 decision from the state supreme court that found the Kansas Constitution granted women the right to abortion, the Kansas City Star reported.