Arizona Nonprofit Requests to Enter Federal Lawsuit Surrounding An Anti-Discriminatory State Abortion Law

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Posted: Oct 15, 2021 2:30 PM
Arizona Nonprofit Requests to Enter Federal Lawsuit Surrounding An Anti-Discriminatory State Abortion Law

Source: AP Photo/Jorge Saenz

On Wednesday, attorneys filed a motion in federal court to request that an Arizona nonprofit that helps families with children with Down syndrome enter a case in defense of a state law that prohibits abortions based on fetal genetic abnormalities.

The case, Isaacson v. Brnovich, centers around S.B. 1457, an Arizona law that limits taxpayer funding for abortions, implements regulations on at-home abortion-inducing drugs, and ensures that unborn children cannot be discriminated against for having genetic abnormalities. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, signed the bill into law in April.

In the motion, attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom, an Arizona-based nonprofit advocacy group, detailed the discriminatory way countries around the world abort unborn children with Down syndrome and argued that the nonprofit Sharing Down Syndrome Arizona should be allowed to enter the case to defend S.B. 1457.

“People with Down syndrome and other genetic abnormalities lead lives full of profound love and meaning—experience tells us so. Yet many countries, including the United States, resort to a regime of discriminatory abortion to “deal with” those with Down syndrome. In other words, at the very time the most vulnerable among us need our help, societies across the globe respond instead with violence,” the motion reads.

“Sharing Down Syndrome is ‘an organization dedicated to helping those with Down syndrome realize their full potential,’ and it therefore ‘supports laws like S.B. 1457, which prohibit the discriminatory treatment of those with Down syndrome and other genetic abnormalities,’” the motion continues. “Additionally, in Sharing Down Syndrome’s experience it is unfortunately the case that society and even some in the medical profession ‘can often place great pressure’ — subtle and not so subtle — on parents to abort children with Down syndrome, precisely because children with this diagnosis have so many medical challenges. However, Sharing Down Syndrome has also witnessed that when ‘families are given loving support and information — even when they have knowledge that their child may have a genetic abnormality and all the health challenges that may come with such a diagnosis—they very often choose to bring their babies to term,’ and then ‘cannot imagine life without that child once he or she is born.’”

According to a press release from Alliance Defending Freedom, the lawsuit was filed this year by two abortion doctors and three abortion advocacy organizations who opposed the protections ensured by S.B. 1457 for unborn children with Down syndrome. They hope to have the law struck down in federal court. 

In a statement on Thursday, ADF Senior Counsel Denise Burke voiced her support for Sharing Down Syndrome’s efforts to enter the case.

“Every unborn life is valuable, precious, and worthy of protection,” Burke said in the statement. “Among other things, Senate Bill 1457 ensures that babies, including those with Down syndrome, are not targeted for death because of their genetic makeup. While it should be common sense to support such a law, abortionists and others with a vested interest in seeing such abortions continue have sued to tear it down. Sharing Down Syndrome Arizona has a direct interest in seeing that they do not succeed with such an inhumane plan.”

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