AZ Senate president, House speaker seek to defend pro-life law prohibiting disability discrimination
PHOENIX – In an effort to prevent children from being aborted simply for having a disability, attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom are representing the president of the Arizona State Senate and the speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives on a motion filed Friday that asks a federal district court to allow the lawmakers to intervene in defense of a state law that prevents such an act from occurring.
Two abortionists and three organizations who oppose the protections for babies with genetic abnormalities filed a lawsuit, Isaacson v. Mayes, seeking to have SB 1457, the law containing those protections, struck down. Speaker Ben Toma and President Warren Petersen are asking the court to allow them to enter the case so that they can defend the law.
“Every unborn life is valuable, precious, and worthy of protection,” said ADF Senior Counsel Denise Harle, director of the ADF Center for Life. “Among other things, this law ensures that babies, including those with Down syndrome, are not targeted for death because of their genetic makeup. While common sense says that this law deserves everyone’s support, abortionists and others with a vested interest in seeing such abortions continue have sued to tear it down. The House speaker and Senate president have a direct interest in defending the bill the Legislature passed and working to ensure this lawsuit’s inhumane aims do not succeed.”
Since 2011, the state of Arizona has prohibited individuals from “perform[ing] an abortion knowing that the abortion is sought based on the sex or race of the child or the race of a parent of that child.” In 2021, Arizona added to its protections against discriminatory abortions by including a prohibition against abortions based on genetic abnormalities, such as Down syndrome.
The motion filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona states that Speaker Toma and President Petersen “seek intervention to defend their interests, which include exercising statutory rights to defend the constitutionality of state statutes, and advocating for the life and equal dignity of vulnerable unborn children. The Leaders are entitled to intervene as a matter of statutory right, and no other party will represent their interests or adequately defend the challenged laws.”
The motion explains that Arizona’s new attorney general, Kris Mayes, “has publicly expressed that she will not defend and enforce Arizona’s abortion laws, including laws at issue here…. Because Attorney General Mayes will not vigorously defend the constitutionality of the challenged laws, the existing parties do not adequately represent the Leaders’ interests, and the Court should grant their motion to intervene.”
- Pronunciation guide: Harle (HAR’-lee)
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.
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