Activists Seek To Block Arizona Ban On Down Syndrome Abortions With Lawsuit

(Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Bradley Devlin General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
Font Size:

Activists filed a lawsuit Tuesday that seeks to overturn a law in Arizona that bans abortions on babies because they have Down syndrome or other genetic abnormalities.

Abortion activists claim that if the law, SB1457, goes into effect, it will prevent physicians from counseling women about having an abortion, and threaten the ability of doctors to provide other kinds of abortions due to fear of prosecution, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Part of abortion activists’ lawsuit also attacks a provision of the law that confers “personhood” and rights of people on to fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses, according to the AP.

SB1457 was signed into law in April by Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey after passing both houses of the Republican-held state legislature by party-line votes, according to the AP. It allows prosecutors to charge doctors who provide abortions solely because the fetus has down syndrome or a genetic abnormality with a felony. The doctors may also lose their medical license, and failures from medical or mental health professionals to report these abortions can be fined $10,000, the AP noted. Furthermore, prosecutors could also bring charges against people who raise money or pay for these kinds of abortions under the new law, the AP reported.

“You have a constitutional right to an abortion, and that right does not take into account your reason for having an abortion,” Center for Reproductive Rights Senior Counsel Emily Nestler claimed, according to the AP. “Politicians should not get to interrogate people’s reasons for seeking an abortion,” Nestler added. (RELATED: Major Abortion Groups Assemble, File Lawsuit Over ‘Unthinkable’ Texas Law Allowing Americans To Sue Abortion Clinics, Doctors)

However, pro-life advocates say the law ensures that children with genetic deformities are not discriminated against before they are even born, the AP reported. Center for Arizona Progress, a pro-life organization, President Cathi Herrod said the bill was “one of the most significant pro-life bills in recent history,” after it was signed by Ducey in April, according to the AP.

If the Arizona law is not blocked by a federal judge, it is scheduled to take effect on Sept. 29, the AP reported.