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Appeal filed to free Abortion Consent Act from Ariz. court order, abortionists drop federal suit

Abortionists voluntarily dismiss challenge to law after loss in federal appeals court
Planned Parenthood Scandal: Do You Care More about the Facts or the Truth?

PHOENIX — Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund and Center for Arizona Policy have appealed an Arizona judge’s order to halt new state laws protecting the health and safety of women while a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood moves forward in state court. At the same time, a Tucson abortion facility represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights is making the rare move of dropping its federal lawsuit against the same laws after both a district and appellate court rejected its request for an injunction. The Bioethics Defense Fund and Life Legal Defense Fund are co-counsel in both cases.

“If abortionists 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,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Steven H. Aden. “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.”

“We are also pleased to see the abortionists drop their federal lawsuit,” added Deborah Sheasby, legal counsel with the Center for Arizona Policy and one of more than 1,600 attorneys in the ADF alliance. “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 prohibits non-physicians from performing surgical abortions, provides for women to receive full and accurate information at least 24 hours before an abortion, protects health care workers who object to performing or facilitating abortions, and requires notarized parental consent for minors seeking abortions.  The legislation also ensures that women receive information on abortion alternatives, long-term medical risks, and the probable gestational age of the preborn child at the time of the requested abortion.

The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld 24-hour waiting periods.  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 minor’s abortion.  An additional poll found that 87 percent of Americans believe health care workers should not be forced to participate in abortions.

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. A state judge denied a motion to dismiss the case last month. The federal case, Tucson Women’s 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. 

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.