Wendy Rogers

PHOENIX — A revived bill to sharply limit abortion is headed for Gov. Doug Ducey’s desk, granting legal personhood to the fetus at any stage of development and effectively barring abortions for genetic abnormalities.

However, state Sen. Wendy Rogers continues to raise money for her even more stringent abortion bill, which died in committee, according to Republic columnist Laurie Roberts.

The House of Representatives approved SB 1457 on a straight party-line vote. The bill effectively bars abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy — which is earlier than many women know they’re pregnant. The bill bars abortions for genetic abnormalities like Down’s syndrome or cystic fibrosis — but would still allow abortions in cases when a disorder would prevent the infant from surviving for more than a few weeks or months.

The bill also prohibits delivery of an abortion-inducing drug by mail or courier. The senate has already adopted the bill, although it will now have to adopt the House amendments, which clarified the definitions of genetic disorders.

Sen. Wendy Rogers had introduced a different abortion bill – HB 2140. That bill would have made it a felony for any doctor to perform an abortion after there’s a fetal heartbeat — which generally occurs at about 5.5 weeks before a woman knows she’s pregnant. Nurses, clerical staff and others involved in the abortion would also face the prospect of a 3.5-year prison sentence.

Roger’s bill initially didn’t get a committee hearing but then made it out of the Senate Appropriations Committee after it was revived as a “zombie” strike-all bill. It then died in another senate committee. Senate President Karen Fann told Howard Fischer with Capitol Media Services that the bill appeared unconstitutional, since it ran counter to several different US Supreme Court decisions. Fann said Rogers did not vet the bill with fellow Republicans.

“This bill was not vetted properly to ensure it is constitutional,” Fann told Capitol Media Services.

However, five days after the bill died in committee, Rogers sent out a fundraising appeal to constituents. She appealed for “the largest donation you can afford” to help her push forward the abortion bill as well as a bill to establish a $30-million border security fund.

“In the age of Biden, you can’t back down,” wrote Rogers. “You have to stand up for your beliefs to show the people that America First policies work.”

Rogers was elected to the District 6 seat after raising some $2 million nationally with furious attacks on Democrats and strident support for then-President Donald Trump. The District runs from Flagstaff to the White Mountains. She first defeated long-time senator Sylvia Allen in a bruising Republican primary. Then she defeated Democrat Felica French, a retired Army colonel, helicopter pilot and nurse in the general election in the course of the most expensive District 6 election in history.

Rogers got off to a rocky start in the senate when a staff member filed an ethics complaint against her for alleged harassment. The senate ethics panel dismissed the complaint.

During the election, Rogers also alienated District 6 representatives in the House for her attacks on Allen as well as allegedly misleading claims of endorsements. Rep. Walter Blackman, a Snowflake Republican, declined to endorse her, saying she had problems with “integrity,” according to an article in the Arizona Republic.

Peter Aleshire covers county government and other topics for the Independent. He is the former editor of the Payson Roundup. Reach him at paleshire@payson.com

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