Arizona lawmakers seek to ban state money for businesses that 'advocate' for abortion

Legislation would add to the state's currently existing divestment policy.

Updated: March 4, 2022 - 11:33pm

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The Arizona House of Representatives wants the state to divest in companies that promote abortion and sexually explicit material to minors.

House Bill 2637, filed by state Rep. Jake Hoffman, R-Queen Creek, would add to the state's currently existing divestment policy.

It would order the state board of investment to divest from companies that "Donate to or invest in organizations that facilitate, promote or advocate for abortions for minors." It would also order the board to divest from companies that "Donate to or invest in organizations that facilitate, promote or advocate for the inclusion of, or the referral of students to, sexually explicit material in kindergarten programs or any of the 1st – 12th grades."

The measure passed along partisan lines in the Arizona House of Representatives on Feb. 28 and was sent to the Senate later in the week.

State Rep. Morgan Abraham, D-Tucson, voted against the measure. He explained on the House floor on Feb. 23 that it would hurt the state's retirement funds.

"This bill is not about the values that we're talking about: being anti-abortion," he said. "This is about finance, and this is a terrible, terrible idea for our retirement system. Some people I've talked to think this bill would allow our retirement system to divest from 75% of the S&P 500.

"As we all know, the key to a safe retirement is diversity," he added. "We should not be forcing our retired teachers, our retired police officers, whoever is involved with this public retirement system to not have the ability to have a diversified portfolio, regardless of the values you have on the underlying issue."

Hoffman doubted the 75% figure and explained his support for the bill.

"All it says is that we have to find other investment vehicles than companies that are donating to do the very same thing," he said. "We're giving hundreds of millions of dollars to organizations who are promoting abortions for minors and sexually explicit materials in our classrooms. What a sad commentary, if there's any truth to what Mr. Abraham said that 75% of the S&P wouldn't qualify."

Hoffman added that Arizona supports the right to life and opposes sexually explicit material in classrooms and should stick to those principles here.

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