Arizona Courts Don’t Deal Full Blow to Pro-Life Laws Limiting Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 30, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Arizona Courts Don’t Deal Full Blow to Pro-Life Laws Limiting Abortions

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 30
, 2009

Phoenix, AZ ( — Arizona courts could have dealt a more severe blow to a new omnibus abortion law that protects medical workers and women considering abortions. Alliance Defense Fund attorneys made gains in federal and state court Tuesday against groups seeking to block the enforcement of new legislation.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona issued an order denying the Tucson Women’s Center abortion business’ request for a preliminary injunction to stop an act passed this year to ensure that women have enough time and information before having an abortion.

Meanwhile, even though the Arizona Superior Court for Maricopa County granted Planned Parenthood’s preliminary injunction through an order keeping new state laws restricting abortion from taking effect today, ADF attorneys made headway in the first round of litigation.

ADF Senior Legal Counsel Steven H. Aden talked with about the developments.

“The legal system must recognize that everyone deserves full and accurate information before undergoing any medical procedure, especially a potentially dangerous and life-shattering abortion,” he said.

“We are pleased that the federal court acknowledges the importance of a woman being fully informed before making one of the most critical decisions of her life. We are also eager to continue our battle in state court until it understands the necessity to safeguard legislation from attacks by pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood that seek to undermine laws designed to protect women and the children they are carrying," he added.

In the federal lawsuit, Tucson Women’s Center v. Arizona Medical Board, ADF attorneys secured an order denying the pro-abortion group’s request for a preliminary injunction to prohibit the enforcement of Arizona House Bill 2564 effective today.

That is an act passed by state legislature and signed by Gov. Janice Brewer in July to protect women.

The new law amends Arizona abortion law by requiring abortion practitioners to provide women with specific statutorily-prescribed information, requiring them to wait 24 hours after receiving the information before having an abortion, and by making sure that women requesting the procedure consent to the abortion in writing.

In the state suit, Planned Parenthood Arizona v. Goddard, the court granted the abortion provider a preliminary injunction against two new state laws enacted during the 2009 legislative session that provide greater protection to women and girls seeking an abortion.

However, despite the order for the preliminary injunction and the judge’s denial of ADF attorney’s motion to intervene in the lawsuit on behalf of bill sponsors Sen. Linda Gray and Rep. Nancy Barto, doctors, and numerous organizations — the state court made an unusual move by accepting a friend-of-the-court brief filed by ADF attorneys, granting them status as amicus parties as the suit moves forward.

The court also accepted into evidence four affidavits from national and Arizona-based medical experts documenting sub-standard medical practices by Planned Parenthood clinics.

The blocked new laws in the state suit would have prohibited non-physicians from performing surgical abortions, required specific information to be provided to women orally and in person, protected employees of abortion facilities from being required to facilitate an abortion, and would have required the notarized parental consent for minors seeking abortions.

Also the legislation would have ensured that women seeking abortions would be presented with alternatives to the procedure, receive information about the long-term medical risks of abortion, and learn about the probable gestational age of the preborn child at the time of the requested abortion.

Attorneys with the Center for Arizona Policy, BioEthics Defense Fund, and Life Legal Defense Fund, are serving as co-counsel in the suits.

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