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ADF responds to attack by pro-abortion groups on Ariz. law protecting women

ADF attorneys file motions to intervene on behalf of legislators, doctors, other groups
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PHOENIX — Two Arizona legislators together with doctors and numerous organizations filed motions Tuesday through their attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund to intervene as defendants in separate state and federal lawsuits aimed at tearing down new protections for women considering an abortion.

“Everyone deserves full and accurate information before undergoing any medical procedure,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Steven H. Aden. “These lawsuits are more about protecting ‘bottom lines’ than protecting women’s rights. If Planned Parenthood and 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.”

In addition to receiving funding from taxpayer dollars, Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics earn revenue from fees charged to patients for abortions. According to records filed with the Internal Revenue Service last year, Planned Parenthood of Arizona alone brought in revenues of more than $12 million in fiscal year 2006-07.

Those seeking to intervene include bill sponsors Sen. Linda Gray and Rep. Nancy Barto, doctors, and numerous organizations that wish to defend what they call common-sense protections offered by the law, including provisions requiring abortionists to inform women about risks at least 24 hours prior to the procedure, requiring surgical abortions to be performed only by licensed doctors, and requiring notarization of parental permission for abortions performed on minors to prevent attempts at forgery. Only the state suit challenges the latter two provisions.

The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld 24-hour waiting periods. According to a recent Harris poll, 88 percent of adults support laws which require abortion providers to inform mothers of possible risks to their health 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 minor’s abortion. A May 2009 Rasmussen poll found that “most Americans (52%) now think it is too easy to get an abortion in America.”

“The Abortion Consent Act empowers women to make informed decisions about their health care,” Aden explained. “The state legislators, doctors, and organizations who support this law also support the law’s other protections which prevent health care workers from being forced to participate in acts against their conscience--the same conscience that likely led them to the medical field in the first place.”

Additional polls indicate that 87 percent of Americans believe that health care workers should not be forced to participate in abortions, and 71 percent oppose domestic taxpayer funding of abortion. A May 2009 Gallup poll found that the majority of Americans now consider themselves pro-life.

The motion to intervene in the state case, Planned Parenthood Arizona v. Goddard, was filed in the Arizona Superior Court for Maricopa County. The motion to intervene in the federal lawsuit, Tucson Women’s Center v. Arizona Medical Board, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. Attorneys with the Bioethics Defense Fund, Life Legal Defense Foundation, and Center for Arizona Policy are serving as co-counsel.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.