The Arizona Senate passed SB 1359 on a party-line vote. The bill makes doctors immune from civil liability for negligent actions or omissions that lead to what is sometimes called "wrongful birth" or "wrongful life" med-mal suits.
Sometimes parents have to make the terrible decision not to bring a child to term because of severe medical issues that would grossly impair the child's quality of life, impose a short life of suffering on the child, or create an unsupportable financial burden on the parents. Usually, those parents can rely on their doctor giving them all the relevant information they need to make such a wrenching choice.
But the radical anti-abortionists in control of Arizona government think that, should a doctor make a mistake and fail to communicate that critical information, there should be no possibility of financial compensation for those parents, or the child.
That suits their myopic goal of doing everything conceivable to burden a woman's right to control her own reproduction, but it only really harms those children, whom they are pretending to care about, and their parents.
The AZ GOP fails to consider the extreme financial hardship imposed by the birth of a severely ill or disabled child. Preventing civil liability from attaching in these cases, only ensures that those children will not get the help and support they need - often for the rest of their lives.
This bill isn't about preventing abortions; there is no way it will prevent even a single abortion, since it exempts intentional or grossly negligent actions or omissions. Doctors won't be allowed to lie to patients in order to trick them into not having an abortion and get away with it under this bill.
So what is this bill about, if not preventing abortions? It's about the money -- specifically, not giving any to the parents of profoundly sick kids who need that financial compensation to provide for those kids' needs. All it does is save med-mal insurers a few bucks. It's just another cruel example of how those who label themselves 'pro-life' seem to lose interest in the quality of those lives after birth. It demonstrates clearly that frequently those who claim to be moved by faith are actually moved by the deep pockets of their financial backers.
When deciding who to send to Congress this year, remember that Ron Gould and Frank Antenori both voted for this deeply cynical bill to deny financial compensation to parents of profoundly disabled kids in the name of anti-abortion zealotry, and to line the pockets of insurance companies that want to profit at their expense.