Federal Judge Blocked Components of Arizona Abortion Law Hours Before It Took Effect

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Posted: Sep 29, 2021 4:45 PM
Federal Judge Blocked Components of Arizona Abortion Law Hours Before It Took Effect

Source: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

A federal district court judge struck down a key component of a new Arizona law that would allow prosecutors bring felony charges against doctors who knowingly provide an abortion because the unborn baby has a genetic abnormality.

As reported by CBS News, U.S. District Judge Douglas Rayes, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, temporarily tossed this provision along with another that would allow prosecutors bring charges against anyone who raised money or paid for an abortion based solely on the unborn child having a genetic abnormality.

In the order granting a partial preliminary injunction against the provisions, Rayes wrote that the provisions are “unconstitutionally vague” and “unduly burden the rights of women to terminate pre-viability pregnancies.” The order noted that the provisions violated precedents set by Supreme Court case Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

“They [the provisions] regulate the mode and manner of abortion by requiring that a woman seeking an abortion because of a fetal genetic abnormality obtain the abortion from a provider who is unaware of her motive for terminating the pregnancy,” the order reads. “Very few Arizona providers offer abortion at the later stages of pregnancy, when certain fetal conditions are likely to be detected.”

As CBS News reported, the new law did not prohibit doctors from performing abortions because of a fetal genetic abnormality. Rather, the law would prohibit doctors from performing such abortions if they were knowledgable of the woman’s motive.

Another provision in the law requires that fertilized eggs, embryos, and fetuses are referred to as “people” from the point of conception. Rayes did not grant a preliminary injunction on this provision.

The law, which went into effect today, was signed by Arizona's Republican Gov. Doug Ducey in April. It was challenged by abortion providers and advocates who want the law permanently overturned.

In a statement, Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod slammed Rayes decision to put parts of the law on hold, describing it as “a predictable attack” by pro-abortion supporters and noted how it is discriminatory.

“[P]reborn babies with genetic conditions like Down syndrome will lack the protection needed against discriminatory abortions,” the statement reads. “Today’s ruling is only the first review by the federal courts. We remain confident the law will be upheld and ruled enforceable in its entirety. It’s a shame the abortion industry is standing in the way of protecting the most vulnerable from discrimination and life itself.”

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