Pro-Abortion Groups File Lawsuit to Prevent Arizona from Banning Down Syndrome Abortions


Pro-abortion groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to overturn a new Arizona law that would ban abortions because of Down syndrome or other genetic abnormalities.

The lawsuit also challenges a personhood provision that confers all the rights of people on fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses.

The law is set to take effect Sept. 29 if a judge does not block it.

“You have a constitutional right to an abortion, and that right does not take into account your reason for having an abortion,” said Emily Nestler, senior counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights.

“Politicians should not get to interrogate people’s reasons for seeking an abortion.”

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States have enacted more than 90 new abortion restrictions this year, the most in decades, according to the Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood’s former research arm.

The high court in May signaled its willingness to reconsider Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

On May 17, the Court agreed to hear the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, which is centered around a Mississippi law that sought to ban abortions after 15 weeks.

The law was blocked by two lower courts in 2018 and 2020, on the basis that it supposedly conflicted with Roe’s viability standard.

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Then, last June, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch asked the Supreme Court to hear the case, arguing that Roe’s viability standard has failed to protect women and children.

The Court will hear oral arguments about the case this fall, with a ruling expected next summer.

The Arizona suit challenges key provisions of SB 1457, which Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed in April after it passed the legislature in party-line votes.

Pro-life groups say the bill ensures children diagnosed with disabilities before birth do not face discrimination.

Cathi Herrod, president of the pro-life group Center for Arizona Progress, called the bill “one of the most significant pro-life bills in recent history” when it was signed into law in April.

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She could not immediately be reached for comment on the lawsuit.

Down syndrome abortion bans have gained traction recently in several states, most recently in Arizona and South Dakota.

Though the laws are on hold in several states, the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has allowed Ohio and Tennessee to enforce them.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina this year vetoed a Down syndrome abortion ban passed by the legislature.

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix by the Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of two abortionists, the National Council of Jewish Women, the National Organization of Women and the Arizona Medical Association.

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

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