Arizona Pro-Life Advocates File Appeal in Case Involving Law Limiting Abortions
by Steven Ertelt
March 9, 2010
Phoenix, AZ (LifeNews.com) — An Arizona pro-life legal group has filed an appeal in a case in state court filed by abortion advocates seeking to stop a set of pro-life laws designed to reduce abortions. Meanwhile, abortion advocates have dropped their companion federal lawsuit challenging the same legislation.
Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund and Center for Arizona Policy have appealed an Arizona judges order to halt new state laws protecting the health and safety of women on abortion.
At the same time, a Tucson abortion facility represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights, a New York-based pro-abortion law firm, is making the rare move of dropping its federal lawsuit against the same laws.
Its decision to drop the federal lawsuit came after both a district and appellate court rejected its request for an injunction.
We’re appealing the injunction the state court granted to Planned Parenthood because these laws protect the health and safety of women. The protection of women should not be on hold while Planned Parenthood ties things up in court," ADF Senior Legal Counsel Steven Aden told LifeNews.com on Monday.
If abortionists really cared about womens rights, they’d support laws that allow women to make fully informed choices instead of challenging these laws in court, Aden said.
Deborah Sheasby, legal counsel with the Center for Arizona Policy, applauded the dropping of the federal case.
We are also pleased to see the abortionists drop their federal lawsuit, she told LifeNews.com. These types of protections have been repeatedly upheld and are overwhelmingly supported by the public. Everyone deserves full and accurate information before undergoing any medical procedure.
The Arizona Abortion Consent Act is the omnibus pro-life bill at issue.
The first measure Governor Jan Brewer signed, HB 2400, creates a state ban on partial birth abortions so local prosecutors can make sure the federal partial-birth abortion ban can be better enforced.
The second bill, HB 2564, would protect women, parents, children, and the civil rights of health care providers.
That legislation calls for informed consent before abortions along with a 24-hour waiting period, parental consent requirements, a prohibition on non-doctors doing surgical abortions, and conscience rights for all health care providers, including pharmacists, on abortion and abortion drugs.
Brewer also signed SB 1175, a bill to ban non-physicians from doing abortions in the state — important because a nurse at Planned Parenthood has been putting women’s health at risk by doing surgical abortions.
The Planned Parenthood lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the provisions in the omnibus anti-abortion law that it claims "threatens womens access to health care in Arizona."
Bryan Howard, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona said the pro-woman, pro-life laws "puts the health and well being of more than half of our states residents at risk by restricting womens access to comprehensive care" and "we believe the regulations should not be put into place until the court rules on the legality of this onerous law.
The notice of appeal in Planned Parenthood Arizona v. Goddard was filed on behalf of bill sponsors Sen. Linda Gray and Rep. Nancy Barto, doctors, and numerous organizations that wish to defend what they call the common-sense protections offered by the law.
The federal case, Tucson Womens Center v. Arizona Medical Board, was voluntarily dismissed from the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona Friday and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit Monday.
A state judge denied a motion to dismiss the case last month.
ADF notes that the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld 24-hour waiting periods and that polling data shows Americans support these kinds of abortion limits that have been proven to lower abortion numbers.
In a Harris poll, 88 percent of adults said they support laws which require abortion providers to inform mothers of possible health risks and of abortion alternatives, 95 percent favor laws ensuring that abortions be performed only by licensed physicians, and 73 percent support laws requiring parental involvement in a minors abortion.
An additional poll found that 87 percent of Americans believe health care workers should not be forced to participate in abortions.
The Bioethics Defense Fund and Life Legal Defense Fund are co-counsel in both cases.
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