Representative Raquel Teran, first elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2018, has now become the new chair of the Arizona Democratic Party.
In the past, however, she sponsored a bill that would have denied medical care to those in Arizona who had survived attempts to abort them.
What’s in This Abortion Bill?
This bill referred to as HB 2696 and simply called “fetal resuscitation; repeal,” was intended to repeal an earlier 1975 Arizona law which required that doctors in the state use all “available means and medical skills”to save the life of any baby who is born alive, regardless of the circumstances of the birth.
However, the original 1975 law was not clear about the exact meaning of the term “delivered alive.” Therefore, in 2017, the Arizona State Legislature amended that law via another bill.
The 2017 law, known as SB 1367, clarified the meaning of “delivered alive” and further required that all abortion clinics in Arizona proved care for babies who survive abortions and for their mothers. Specifically, SB 1367 states that there must be “[e]quipment and services located in the recovery room to provide appropriate emergency resuscitative and life support procedures pending the transfer of the patient or viable fetus to the hospital” in every abortion clinic in Arizona.
SB 1367 was passed in the wake of a few rather harrowing events, including one case of a baby that had been gestating from 22 weeks, was aborted, survived, and was able to live for an hour before finally dying due to lack of proper medical care.
In 2016, a recording of a 911 call from an abortion clinic in Phoenix revealed that another aborted baby had survived the procedure and was kicking and breathing. However, the clinic lacked the supplies to care for the baby, and it died.
SB 1367 was passed to prevent such things from happening.
HB 2696 would repeal both SB 1367 and the original 1975 abortion law.
Teran’s Reaction to the Bill
In 2019, HB 2696 was ultimately rejected by the Republican House Judiciary Committee. Teran expressed regret for sponsoring the bill, but given her continued commitment to repealing SB 1367 — which she described as a “fetal torture law” — it is not clear how sincere that commitment is.
In any case, after being informed of some of the language in HB 2696, she said on Twitter, “I discovered the bill inadvertently strikes a decades-old statute that is the essence of the controversy surrounding this bill. The responsibility for this mistake is mine & I have apologized to all involved for not reading it closer to ensure that my intent was clear.”
However, pro-life activists in Arizona, like Marya Rodriguez — who once worked with Teran at Planned Parenthood before having a change of heart — is worried about what Teran’s ascension to head of the Arizona Democratic Party might mean. “It saddens me because there was more balance in Arizona politically before now — it wasn’t so drastic on either side — especially when it comes to the issue of abortion,” she said.
She believes that those like Teran will use their power to protect Planned Parenthood.