By Daniel Stefanski |
Democrat Governor Katie Hobbs vetoed a bill that would have enhanced protections for newborn infants, angering Arizona Legislative Republicans who sent the legislation to her Office.
Hobbs vetoed SB 1600, sponsored by Senator Janae Shamp, which would have required “any infant who is born alive to be treated as a legal person under Arizona laws and have the same rights to medically appropriate and reasonable care and treatment.” The bill also would have required “any health care professional present, when an infant is born alive, to take all medically appropriate actions to preserve the life and health of the born alive infant.”
Hobbs explained her reasoning for the veto in a letter to Arizona President Warren Petersen, writing: “The bill is uniformly opposed by the medical community and interferes with the relationship between a patient and doctor. It’s simply not the state’s role to make such difficult medical decisions for patients. As a candidate I promised to veto any bill that interferes with the reproductive rights of Arizonans. As Governor, I intend to make good on that promise.
But the bill sponsor, Senator Shamp, wasn’t having any of the governor’s justification for her veto. Shamp released her own statement shortly after the action, saying, “Governor Hobbs has refused to carry out the scheduled execution of death row inmate, Aaron Gunches, in order to preserve his life after being convicted of a brutal murder. It’s sickening that she doesn’t feel the same about keeping innocent babies alive. In reality, death by neglect is murder. Healthcare professionals should be required to take action to preserve the life and health of a living, breathing baby. Appropriate medical care ranges from the most invasive to comfort care, and under no circumstances should that ever not be offered. Quite frankly, it’s atrocious that I would even need to write legislation to protect our state’s most vulnerable lives.”
During the legislative process, SB 1600 first passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee with a party-line vote of 4-3, and then the full chamber by a tally of 16-13 (with one Democrat member not voting). The bill was then transmitted to the House, where the Health and Human Services Committee approved its clearance 5-4. The full chamber then gave the legislation a green light with a 32-26 vote (with two Democrat members not voting). Democrat Representative Lydia Hernandez was the lone member of her party to side with Republicans in voting for this bill.
Before the governor’s veto, representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, Arizona National Organization for Women, State Conference NAACP, and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona (among others) registered their opposition to the bill; while representatives from the Arizona Catholic Conference and Center for Arizona Policy urged legislators to support the proposal.
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.