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Coalition of Attorneys General File Amicus Brief Opposing Arizona Abortion Ban

December 28, 2021 by Reece Nations
Coalition of Attorneys General File Amicus Brief Opposing Arizona Abortion Ban
Handmaids protest abortion restrictions at a recent rally. (AP Photo/John O'Connor File)

PHOENIX — Attorneys General from 23 states signed on to an amicus brief that challenges an Arizona law prohibiting abortions sought because of fetal abnormalities.

The coalition contends in their brief that the preservation of women’s reproductive autonomy can and should occur while simultaneously dismissing discriminatory views of individuals living with disabilities. Abortion providers should be free to provide accurate information about fetal abnormalities without endangering a woman’s right to the procedure, they write.

Arizona passed the law in April which bans abortions sought for a specific reason — namely in instances when genetic abnormalities are present in the fetus. The attorneys general are urging the appeals court to uphold a previous district court order that enjoined the ban before it went into effect.

“Almost 50 years after Roe was decided, reproductive freedoms remain under constant assault,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a written statement. “Arizona is just the latest in the long line of conservative-led states that are seeking to impose their will on millions of women with laws that aim to control our bodies, our choices, and our freedoms, but we will never stop fighting them. We’re asking the appeals court to uphold the lower court’s decision and strike down this unconstitutional law.”

The law was originally set to take effect in September before Judge Douglas Rayes of the U.S. District Court of Arizona ruled against the ban, temporarily blocking it. That decision was in turn appealed by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich.

James was joined in the amicus brief by the attorneys general of Colorado, Michigan, Connecticut, Minnesota, Delaware, Nevada, Hawaii, New Jersey, New Mexico, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Oregon, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, Vermont, Wisconsin, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

In the brief, the attorneys general maintain that eliminating discrimination against people with disabilities and preserving women’s access to reproductive health care are complementary objectives as both rest on the universal human rights principle of bodily autonomy.

The U.S. Supreme Court earlier this month declined to reverse a lower court ruling that allowed Texas’ “heartbeat” abortion law to go into effect on Sept. 1 despite its pending legal challenges, as previously reported in The Well News. However, the justices also ruled that abortion rights activists can continue their challenge to Texas’ abortion ban although only against some of the originally named defendants in the case.

“The decision to terminate a pregnancy before viability is a personal choice and is protected under the law,” California Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a written statement. “Unconstitutional laws like Arizona’s reason ban have the potential to impact millions of Americans, including Californians who choose to visit, work, or go to school in the state. Using the law to take away a constitutional right from people who are already making a tremendously complex choice cannot stand. My office has and will continue to oppose this ban and others like it.” 

Reece can be reached at reece@thewellnews.com.

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