On Wednesday, Arizona’s Governor Doug Ducey signed a series of bills concerning abortion and transgender rights within the state. This bill bans abortion after 15 weeks, prohibits gender reassignment surgery for minors, and limits transgender athletes’ abilities to participate in school sports.

In a letter explaining his support for this bill, Gov. Ducey wrote, “This legislation is common-sense and narrowly-targeted to address these two specific issues ⁠— while ensuring that transgender individuals continue to receive the same dignity, respect and kindness as every individual in our society.”

AZ Gov. Doug Ducey

This legislation, labeled by Ducey as “common-sense” is focused on an initiative that will “protect underage children from irreversible surgeries and affirm Arizona’s commitment to protecting the lives of preborn children,” as stated in a news release from the Governor’s office.

The bill signed by vocal abortion opponent Ducey protects the life of preborn children, outlawing abortion past week 15 of pregnancy. There are, however, exceptions in place in the event of a medical emergency which threatens the mother’s life.

Physicians who perform an abortion past the 15-week period are subject to a class 6 felony charge and may have their medical license suspended or revoked.

In a signing letter, Gov. Ducey said, “In Arizona, we know there is immeasurable value in every life – including preborn life. I believe it is each state’s responsibility to protect them.”

The second aspect of the new legislation is the initiative to “protect underage children from irreversible surgeries.” Gender reassignment surgery in Arizona will be disallowed until the age of 18. Puberty blocking hormones are still legal, however, this bill will prevent minors from undergoing life-altering, permanent surgeries before adulthood.

In the aforementioned letter from the Arizona Governor, he says that this law is “common sense” because it “is a decision that will dramatically affect the rest of an individual’s life, including the ability of that individual to become a biological parent later in life.”

“The irreversible nature of these procedures underscores why such a decision should be made as an adult, not as a child, and further supports the importance of this legislation,” added Ducey.

Finally, the other piece of legislation signed by Ducey requires all Arizona public schools – and their private school competition – to designate their athletics teams based on the biological sex of the student-athletes.

“Every young Arizona athlete should have the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities that give them a sense of belonging and allow them to grow and thrive,” said Gov. Ducey.

With this legislation, Arizona joins many other states with limits on transgender girls to join girls’ sports teams. This creates an even playing field for all athletes, allowing all school-based athletics to give all students a fair chance.

“This legislation simply ensures that the girls and young women who have dedicated themselves to their sport do not miss out on hard-earned opportunities including their titles, standings and scholarships due to unfair competition,” said Ducey. “This bill strikes the right balance of respecting all students while still acknowledging that there are inherent biological distinctions that merit separate categories to ensure fairness for all.”

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