The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other pro-abortion groups have filed a lawsuit in federal district court to block an Arizona pro-life measure signed into law in April.
SB 1457 bans abortions performed because of genetic abnormalities such as Down syndrome, and it also states that unborn children “at every stage of development” have the rights of any other persons.
Gov. Doug Ducey signed the bill into law April 19, saying: “There’s immeasurable value in every single life—regardless of genetic makeup. We will continue to prioritize protecting life in our preborn children, and this legislation goes a long way in protecting real human lives.”
Sen. Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix) sponsored the legislation. “We need to protect our most vulnerable, especially those with treatable genetic conditions,” she said. “They are loved, integral members of our community that make Arizona whole—and I’m proud to sponsor legislation that gives them a voice before they’re even born. Thank you, Gov. Ducey, for signing Senate Bill 1457.”
In an effort to block the implementation of the law, the ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed the lawsuit Aug. 17 on behalf of two physicians who perform abortions, the Arizona chapters of the National Organization for Women and the National Council of Jewish Women, and the Arizona Medical Association.
The complaint states: “The Act imposes drastic and unlawful measures that ban abortion for an entire group of Arizona patients, and also threatens maternal health care by creating new personhood rights for fertilized eggs, embryos, and fetuses. If S.B. 1457 is not enjoined it will wreak havoc on reproductive healthcare across Arizona, with devastating effects for pregnant patients and medical providers throughout the states.”
This past April, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit upheld a similar ban in Ohio, but in June, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked a similar ban in Missouri. The fact that circuits have split on the issue makes it likely that at some point the U.S. Supreme Court will need to review the issue of whether or not states may ban abortions based on genetic abnormalities.
Photo: Ross D. Franklin/AP