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Senate OKs New Abortion Reporting Bill

The Republican-controlled Arizona Senate on Thursday approved to legislation increasing reporting requirements for abortion providers and a second bill allowing a parent to use embryos from a marriage even after a divorce.

The abortion reporting bill would add to robust reporting requirements already placed on providers by mandating doctors ask specifically why a woman was seeking an abortion, report details of any complications and imposing tougher "informed consent" reporting requirements.

It was fiercely opposed by most minority Democrats, who argued that the new law would shame women and is entirely unnecessary.

"Arizonans are really tired of this unnecessary overreach into people's personal, private medical decisions," said Democratic Sen. Katie Hobbs. "These additional reporting requirements provide absolutely zero, zero public health benefits or purpose."

Republicans in the Legislature regularly pass abortion restrictions and say the new reporting requirements add to the information the state can use to ensure they are done safely.

The abortion reporting measure was sponsored by Republican Sen. Nancy Barto, who said the state already asks women why they are seeking an abortion.

"What this bill does, it upgrades and updates the way we ask these questions in order to make sure that we're getting accurate information," Barto said. "And it's important in order for us to really understand policymaking going forward and how to better serve women in the policies that go to protecting the unborn when they choose abortion."

Just one Democrat, Sen. Catherine Miranda, joined the 16 Republicans who voted for the measure, while 12 Democrats and one Republican, Sen. Kate Brophy McGee, voted no.

Democrats also spoke out against the embryo bill, saying the fate of fertilized human eggs is spelled out in contracts signed before the eggs are collected. It passed 18-12, with all Republicans and Miranda in support.

"This is a solution in search of a problem because these situations are already thought of beforehand when they are doing the paperwork to start the whole process," Hobbs said.

Barto is also pushing the proposal to help a woman, Ruby Torres, who was denied use of her seven embryos by a court because her ex-husband no longer wanted children. Both are backed by the Center for Arizona Policy, a powerful force at the capitol that backs social conservative issues.

Barto said the man didn't want to be forced to pay child support, which the bill addresses.

She said the court ordered the embryos donated.

"There will be children out there if someone selects her embryos that Ruby will never be able to meet or care for and will never be able to know her genetic history," Barto said. "If she wishes to receive a donated embryo the cost will be $10,000 to $20,000."

Torres has appealed the court decision denying her the right to use the embryos conceived with her former husband, and Barto said she hopes the appeals court will grant her access to them if the bill becomes law.

— The abortion reporting proposal is Senate Bill 1394 and the frozen embryo bill is Senate Bill 1393 .

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