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Ariz. appeals abortion law to US Supreme Court

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys join Ariz. AG in defense of law restricting non-emergency abortions after 20 weeks
Related Case:
Baby's Feet

SAN FRANCISCO — Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery asked the U.S. Supreme Court Friday to reverse a U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit decision against an Arizona law restricting non-emergency abortions after 20 weeks.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys are co-counsel in the case, Horne v. Isaacson, along with John Eastman of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III, Arizona Solicitor General Robert Ellman, and attorneys with Americans United for Life.

“Every innocent life deserves to be protected. 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 dangers and tremendous psychological consequences of late-term abortions,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden. “Arizona’s law is entirely reasonable and constitutional, and we hope the Supreme Court takes this invitation to revisit the extreme constraints Roe v. Wade imposed on state safeguards for 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.

“The current state of scientific knowledge demonstrates that a fetus feels pain beginning as early as sixteen (and quite likely by twenty) weeks gestation and that late-term abortion poses an exponential increase in risk to maternal health,” the petition filed with the Supreme Court explains. “Confronted with this documented evidence, the utter gruesomeness of late-term abortion (however performed), and the threats it posed to the integrity of the medical profession, the State of Arizona determined…to protect the health of the mother and the dignity of the unborn child to be free from excruciating pain by allowing abortions after twenty weeks only when necessary to avert death or serious health risks to the mother.”

“On the basis of these scientific developments,” the petition continues, “the legislatures of thirteen States, including Arizona, as well as one house of the U.S. Congress, have now adopted legislation limiting access to abortion beyond twenty weeks except when necessary to avert death or serious health risks to the mother.”

The petition argues that such developments “provide ample predicate for distinguishing this Court’s prior abortion precedents” and that the high court should accept the case “to reverse the Ninth Circuit’s decision to the contrary, so as to give due deference to the important legislative judgments of the States in this sensitive and scientifically developing policy area.”

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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