Arizona Governor Ducey signs controversial laws to restrict trans athletes, surgeries and abortions

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed into law three bills banning transgender athletes from competing in women’s sports, transgender reassignment surgeries and abortions after 15 weeks. File photo by Countess Jemal/UPI | License picture

March 30 (UPI) — Arizona Governor Doug Ducey on Wednesday signed into law three controversial bills banning transgender girls from participating in women’s sports, minors from having sex reassignment surgery and abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The Republican governor announced he had signed all three bills into law in a letter to Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, in which he called the legislation “common sense.”

Ducey signed the laws into law despite strong opposition from LGBTQ and health care advocates.

“A large majority of Arizonans believe in abortion rights and want to ensure that trans youth have every opportunity to thrive,” said Darrell Hill, policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona. , in a press release. “The lawmakers who supported these bills know their transphobic, anti-choice agenda is out of step with the will of their constituents.”

The legislation was passed by Arizona lawmakers last week with Senate Bill 1138 banning gender transition procedures for anyone under the age of 18, even with parental consent, while threatening health professionals. health of penalties for referring such medical procedures to a minor.

SB 1165 prohibits male-born transgender athletes from participating in public or private school sports intended for girls.

And SB 1164 prohibits medical professionals from knowingly performing an abortion on a pregnant person after 15 weeks gestation of the fetus under threat of felony charges with no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from incest or rape.

Ducey, in her letter, said the legislation regarding transgender youth is “common sense and narrowly targeted” to “protect the participation and equity of female athletes and to ensure that those undergoing gender reassignment surgery are of adulthood”.

The bills, he said, ensure that “transgender people continue to receive the same dignity, respect and kindness as every individual in our society.”

Terry Schilling, president of American Principles Project, a conservative think tank, praised Ducey for signing both bills into law.

“While much more needs to be done to combat the radical left agenda, this is an important start, and we urge other states that do not have such laws to enact them as soon as possible,” said he said in a statement.

Opponents, however, were quick to condemn Ducey’s decision not to veto the legislation with the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ advocacy group in the United States, saying any harm suffered by minors as a result of these bills belongs to the Governor and the legislators who passed them.

“Governor Ducey has chosen discrimination over protecting the welfare of vulnerable children,” Cathryn Oakley, state legislative director and senior counsel for the HRC, said in a statement. “That’s not leadership, that’s cowardice. The Human Rights Campaign strongly condemns his actions and will not stop fighting for trans children across the country.”

Kathy Hoffman, the state’s Democratic Superintendent of Public Instruction, also accused Ducey of siding with “extremism” and injecting “politics into our schools” by signing the bills that she called it “hateful”.

“How many children will be harmed because of these laws? How many children will suffer until a future more tolerant legislature does harm?” she asked by Twitter. “I am deeply disappointed with this decision, and my heart breaks for the families and children who will suffer because of these laws.”

The American Civil Liberties Union responded, saying it would sue Ducey.

“The government cannot violate our law without a fight, it tweeted.

The abortion bill has also come under swift attack, with health care advocates saying it won’t just hurt Arizonans, but will disproportionately hurt Arizonans and minorities alike. low income.

“Many of our clients already have to travel to care, take time off work at their own expense and arrange childcare. These are often insurmountable burdens as they add to the financial, logistical and legal hurdles facing abortion seekers in the state,” said Brianna Gordon of the Tucson Abortion Support Collective. “We don’t need thoughts and prayers – we need these lawmakers to take the boot off our necks.”

The laws were signed as Republican-controlled states seek to enact similar legislation.

According to the HRC, 2021 has been a banner year for lawmakers introducing bills targeting transgender people with this year on track to surpass that with 320 already under-reviewed by states. Seventy of those bills relate to banning school sports for trans youth.

The Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization focused on reproductive health and rights, said 71 bills have been introduced this year to ban all or most abortions.

Last week, two Republican governors vetoed bills similar to Arizona’s ban on trans youth from girls’ sports.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb and Utah Governor Spencer Cox have separately spiked their states’ legislation on the grounds that they are essentially flawed.

Meanwhile, an abortion bill similar to Arizona’s but enacted by Florida is currently before the Supreme Court.

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