Arizona wants to be allowed to protect unborn babies with Down syndrome and other disabilities from discriminatory abortions under a new law.
But a federal judge’s order is blocking it from doing so.
On Tuesday, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed a motion asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the order and allow Arizona to enforce its pro-life law, Reuters reports.
The law, which passed in April, prohibits discriminatory abortions due to a prenatal diagnosis such as Down syndrome. Exceptions are allowed if the mother’s life is at risk. An older Arizona law also prohibits discriminatory abortions because of an unborn baby’s race or sex.
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Before the new law could go into effect, however, the Center for Reproductive Rights and other pro-abortion groups filed a lawsuit challenging it as an unconstitutional burden on women’s “right” to abortion. Soon afterward, a federal judge blocked the law.
State Sen. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, the lead sponsor of the law, said she wants to stop the deadly discrimination against unborn babies with disabilities.
“What we’re trying to do is protect those that are most vulnerable in the womb,” Barto said earlier this year, according to Capitol Media Services. “And right now, it’s those with disabilities. They’re being singled out and targeted.”
Cathi Herrod of the pro-life Center for Arizona Policy praised lawmakers when they passed the legislation earlier this year, calling it a win for Arizona children.
“Today, Arizonans win. Arizona children diagnosed with disabilities prior to birth will no longer be discriminated against,” she said at the time.
Research suggests between 60 percent and 90 percent of unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the U.S. are aborted. Recent reports in The Atlantic and CBS News found that nearly 100 percent of unborn babies who test positive for Down syndrome are aborted in Iceland, 95 percent in Denmark and 90 percent in England.
Parents also frequently report feeling pressured to abort unborn babies with Down syndrome and other disabilities. One mom recently told the BBC that she was pressured to abort her unborn daughter 15 times, including right up to the moment of her baby’s birth. Another mother from Brooklyn, New York said doctors tried to convince her to abort her unborn son for weeks before they took no for an answer.
A number of states have passed laws to prohibit discriminatory abortions based on an unborn baby’s sex, race or disability, but federal courts are divided about the constitutionality of such laws. Many states are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to settle the matter by allowing unborn babies to be protected.
A Marist/Knights of Columbus poll in January found that 70 percent of Americans – including 56 percent of those who identify as pro-choice, 59 percent of Democrats and 70 percent of Independents – oppose abortion based on the expectation that an unborn child may have Down syndrome.