Arizona Laws to Reduce Abortions Can Get Pro-Life Legal Group’s Help, Court Says

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 24, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Arizona Laws to Reduce Abortions Can Get Pro-Life Legal Group’s Help, Court Says

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 24
, 2009

Phoenix, AZ ( — A federal court ruled Tuesday that attorneys from two pro-life organizations can help legislation passed in Arizona this year to protect pregnant women and their unborn children. An abortion business has challenged a bill the legislature approved with several new pro-life laws contained in it.

As reported, the omnibus pro-life bill faces two legal challenges — including a federal lawsuit from the Tucson Women’s Center, abortion center.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona issued an order in September denying its request for a preliminary injunction to stop the pro-life measures.

Today, that court issued its order granting intervention in the case to allow attorneys from the Alliance Defense Fund and Center for Arizona Policy to represent the Crisis Pregnancy Centers of Greater Phoenix and the Arizona Catholic Conference in their efforts to defend the law.

One of the parts of the omnibus bill is an informed consent measure that says, if abortion remains legal, women ought to be informed of its risks and alternatives so they can find better options.

ADF Senior Legal Counsel Steven Aden talked with late today about the decision and the lawsuit’s primary backer, a pro-abortion law firm.

“Everyone deserves full and accurate information before undergoing any medical procedure,” he said. “If the Center for Reproductive Rights really cared about women’s rights, they’d support laws that allow women to make fully informed choices instead of challenging these laws in court. "

"These types of protections have been repeatedly upheld and are overwhelmingly supported by the public. ADF and CAP look forward to defending the right of women and girls to be fully informed about the dangers of abortion, to have time to reflect, and to give fully-informed consent before making a decision," he added.

Aden said the ADF and CAP will help their clients defend what the two groups believe are common-sense protections offered by the law.

He noted the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld 24-hour waiting periods and, according to a recent Harris poll, 88 percent of adults support laws which require abortion businesses to inform mothers of possible risks to their health and of abortion alternatives.

In a state court lawsuit against the omnibus pro-life law, 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.

The omnibus 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 pre-born child at the time of the requested abortion.

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

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