ARIZONA NEWS

U.S. Supreme Court: Arizona can enforce genetic issue abortion ban

Jun 30, 2022, 6:00 PM
Arizona Sen. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, left, speaks during a news conference after the Supreme Court ...

Arizona Sen. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, left, speaks during a news conference after the Supreme Court decision to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion decision as Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod Esq., right, and pregnancy resource centers representative Josh Chumley of Choices, middle, listen in Friday, June 24, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday allowed enforcement of a 2021 Arizona law that lets prosecutors bring felony charges against doctors who knowingly terminate pregnancies solely because the fetuses have a genetic abnormality such as Down syndrome.

The decision comes in the wake of the high court’s June 24 decision that said women have no constitutional right to obtain an abortion. It has no immediate effect because Arizona providers stopped all abortions following last Friday’s Supreme Court ruling.

Providers, including Planned Parenthood Arizona, stopped performing abortions immediately because they were worried about a pre-statehood law making it a crime to perform an abortion or assist in any way, unless the life of the mother is threatened. It was unclear if that law could be enforced, but Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich said Wednesday that it can be.

That decision puts him at odds with GOP Gov. Doug Ducey, who has repeatedly said that a ban on abortions after 15 weeks’ pregnancy that he signed in March takes precedence. His spokesman, C.J. Karamargin, said Wednesday night that the governor’s office is reviewing that decision and had no immediate comment.

The 2021 law specifically said it did not overturn the total abortion ban in place since at least 11 years before Arizona became a state in 1912. The Republican-controlled Legislature did remove another part of that law allowing women to be sentenced to one to five years in prison if convicted of having an abortion.

Democrats and abortion rights advocates slammed Brnovich’s decision.

“Mark Brnovich just took us back to 1901,” Democratic attorney general candidate Kris Mayes said Thursday. “And I think it should outrage everyone. It’s way outside of where most Arizonans stand on this issue.

“And it’s also unconstitutional,” she added. “I believe all of these laws violate Arizona’s privacy clause.”

Mayes said she’s unaware of anyone challenging abortion restrictions under that part of the state constitution. But she vowed never to prosecute women in Arizona for violating laws restricting abortion if she is elected in November.

In Thursday’s genetic abnormality ruling, the Supreme Court sent the case back to the federal judge in Phoenix who had blocked it last September. U.S. District Judge Douglas Rayes said in his ruling that the law’s criminal provisions were likely unconstitutionally vague, explaining it’s unclear at what point in the process doctors can be deemed to be aware that fetal genetic abnormality exists.

When the law was being debated last year, Republican state Sen. Nancy Barto said children with Down syndrome and other genetic abnormalities deserve to be protected and can live “productive, wonderful lives.”

“There are incredible numbers of people that appreciate those children that have come into the world with a genetic abnormality like Down (syndrome) or other serious issues that are genetic,” said Barto, a Phoenix Republican who sponsored the bill.

“And once they were born, they’ve meant so much to their families, to the world. They’ve gone on to live productive, wonderful lives. That’s what we’re protecting here.”

Dr. Jill Gibson, the medical director at Planned Parenthood Arizona, said in an interview Thursday that the law puts parents in a quandary. A woman may feel compelled to lie to her abortion provider about her reasons for obtaining the procedure, Gibson said.

“Anytime there is that breach in a patient’s ability to speak openly and honestly with their physician, bad things are going to happen,” she said. “Really bad things are going to happen — we’re not going to be able to care for the patients the way that we need to care for them.”

And families caring for badly disabled children face Arizona’s poorly funded social service programs, Gibson said.

“These fetuses that are born with major anomalies and abnormalities and require lifelong medical care, who’s going to provide that care?”

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(C|303 Rendering via JLL)...
Kevin Stone

Mile-long industrial park called called C|303 joining Glendale’s Loop 303 corridor

A mile-long industrial park is coming to Glendale as the build-out of the Loop 303 corridor continues, developers announced Wednesday.
1 day ago
(Tempe Police Department Photo/Facebook)...
KTAR.com

Arizona U.S. Marshals shoot man in Tempe who pulled out handgun

A shooting involving law enforcement occurred in Tempe on Thursday after a man pulled out a handgun, authorities said.
1 day ago
(ADOT picture)...
KTAR.com

Heavy rain hits part of Valley on Thursday, many left without power

Thursday started one of the strongest weather systems of the season as rain pounded and residents around the Valley are left without power.
1 day ago
FILE - A street sign leads to what was once the home of Paul Adams and his family on the outskirts ...
Associated Press

Judge limits privilege defense in Arizona religious sex abuse case

An Arizona judge overseeing a high-profile lawsuit accusing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of conspiring to cover-up child sex abuse has ruled that the church may not refuse to answer questions or turn over documents under the state’s “clergy-penitent privilege.”
1 day ago
Jose Avalos (Chandler Police Photo)...
KTAR.com

Silver Alert canceled for 57-year-old man with dementia found safe in Chandler

A Silver Alert was canceled on Thursday for a 57-year-old man with dementia who was found safe in Chandler.
1 day ago
Arizona Department of Public Safety photo...
KTAR.com

Arizona Department of Public Safety arrests man with 162 pounds of meth

The AZDPS made an arrest on Thursday after a traffic stop led to the discovery of 162 pounds of meth near Cordes Junction.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
U.S. Supreme Court: Arizona can enforce genetic issue abortion ban