An Arizona judge has reinstated a state law protecting preborn children with genetic abnormalities, including Down syndrome, from discriminatory abortion.
The law, originally passed in 2021, restricts abortion for the reason of a diagnosis of Down syndrome or any other genetic condition. It was immediately challenged by the abortion industry, and was blocked shortly afterward.
In his Thursday ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Douglas Rayes reversed his 2021 decision blocking the law. In that ruling, Rayes had relied heavily on the precedent established with Roe v. Wade, particularly in relation to the idea of an “undue burden” placed on women seeking abortion. Now, he says, courts can no longer use the idea of an “undue burden” in determining whether or not laws are constitutional.
“Plaintiffs do not have a constitutional right to perform elective abortions and their patients no longer have the constitutional right to receive them,” he wrote. He added that the law does not interfere with a woman’s ability to get an abortion, so long as the abortionist does not know why she is seeking that abortion.
“Plaintiffs may have whatever communications with their patients they wish,’’ Rayes added. “But plaintiffs’ ability to provide this care without undue state interference is a battle fought and lost in Dobbs.’’
The abortion industry was quick to decry Rayes’ decision. “This ban interferes with vital provider-patient relationships, preventing doctors from providing essential medical care in fear of facing severe punishment,’’ said a spokesman for the Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union. “Patients should be given the tools to make the best possible decision regarding their own medical care and empowered to make those decisions for themselves, without interference from the state.’’
Now, with the law’s reinstatement, Arizona abortionists found in violation will face a Class 6 felony and up to one year in prison. The law also allows the married father of the preborn child to seek damages if his wife aborts their baby due to a genetic abnormality.