Arizona Abortion Business Regulation Law Doesn’t Get Appeals Hearing

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 29, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Arizona Abortion Business Regulation Law Doesn’t Get Appeals Hearing Email this article
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by Paul Nowak Staff Writer
August 29, 2004

Phoenix, AZ ( — On Wednesday the Ninth Circuit Court of appeals refused to rehear the case of an Arizona law that would regulate abortion businesses. Attorneys for Americans United for Life, who are defending the law, expressed disappointment at the decision.

"We are disappointed that the Ninth Circuit, by refusing to rehear this important case, has allowed the health and safety of Arizona women to be compromised," said Denise M. Burke, Senior Litigation Counsel of (AUL).

The law, named "Lou Anne’s Law" for Lou Anne Herron, an Arizona woman who died from complications from an abortion, was ruled partially unconstitutional by the Ninth Circuit Court in June.

As other courts had upheld similar laws, AUL’s attorney’s were resolute to keep trying, and petitioned the Court to reconsider the case. That request was rejected earlier this week.

"Right now, a dog has more protection in a veterinary clinic than a woman in an Arizona abortion clinic," said Nikolas Nikas, AUL’s General Counsel who is defending the law along with Burke. "

Other federal courts have consistently found that abortion clinic regulations, like those enacted in Arizona, are designed to protect women’s health and do not interfere with their right to choose an abortion," Nikas explained. "We are confident that the district court
in Tucson will do the same."

In its June ruling, the appeals court said the law’s allowance of inspections of abortion business offices was too broad and not legal without a warrant, and would allow state officials to have unauthorized access to patient files.

The court also voided a section of the legislation requiring abortion practitioners to treat women "with consideration, respect and full recognition of the patient’s dignity and individuality," despite the fact that the wording was a result of an abortion practitioner who was eventually found guilty of sexually harassing dozens of patients.

The Court ruled that the wording was too vague.

The court sent that part of the law back to U.S. District Court Judge Raner Collins to allow abortion businesses to prove the requirements are burdensome. Previously, Judge Collins ruled they were not.

The appeals court also said a requirement that abortion businesses furnish information about women who die or are injured as a result of a botched abortion is allowable.

"Lou Anne’s Law provides common-sense regulations that are standard procedures for other health care facilities," explained Burke. "They ensure basic protections such as emergency care procedures, sanitation, proper maintenance of patient records, and staff-training standards that any outpatient clinic should have."

"Lou Anne’s Law" was named after Lou Anne Herron, a 32-year-old mother of two, who bled to death after her uterus was punctured in a Phoenix abortion facility in 1998. John Biskind, who performed the late-term abortion, was later convicted of manslaughter.

Similar laws in other states such as South Carolina and Louisiana have already been responsible for shutting down abortion facilities that refused to or were unable to comply.