WASHINGTON — Sixteen states are among the parties that filed briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court this week that encourage the high court to reverse a U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit decision against an Arizona law restricting non-emergency abortions after 20 weeks. Arizona legislators enacted the law based on evidence that shows children experience pain beginning at least at that stage and that women can experience increased physical risk and significant psychological trauma from late-term abortions.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys are co-counsel in the case, Horne v. Isaacson, along with Arizona Solicitor General Robert Ellman, Maricopa County Attorney William Montgomery, former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III, John Eastman of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, and attorneys with Americans United for Life. Last month, Montgomery and Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case.
“Every innocent life deserves to be protected,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Casey Mattox. “Not only does this law protect children in the womb who experience horrific pain during a late-term abortion, it also protects mothers from the increased risk of physical harm and tremendous psychological consequences that come with late-term abortions.”
“As the numerous states and organizations who have filed briefs with the Supreme Court rightly argue, Arizona’s law is entirely reasonable and constitutional,” added lead counsel John Eastman, director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence and one of nearly 2,300 attorneys allied with Alliance Defending Freedom. “We hope the Supreme Court accepts this invitation to revisit the extreme constraints Roe v. Wade imposed on the ability of states to respond to new medical knowledge and safeguard women’s health.”
In May, the 9th Circuit ruled against Arizona H.B. 2036, reversing a district court which upheld the law based on its conclusions that “the unborn child has developed pain sensors all over its body by 20 weeks gestational age” and that legitimate concern exists for “the health of the pregnant woman” because the instance of complications is exponentially higher after that time. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys had filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the 9th Circuit on behalf of a doctors’ group that provided support for such findings.
“Numerous states have limited access to non-emergency abortions beyond 20 weeks to protect the health of the mother and ensure that babies at that stage of development are free from excruciating pain,” explained Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden. “Arizona’s law is no less reasonable, as the briefs filed with the Supreme Court this week affirm.”
In addition to the brief filed by 16 states, the Supreme Court also received briefs from numerous medical associations, Down Syndrome advocacy organizations, pro-life advocacy groups, pregnancy resource center networks, women who have experienced the trauma of abortion, and others in support of the new law.
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
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