Federal Judge Blocks Arizona’s “Personality” Abortion Act

Phoenix (AP) —On Monday, a federal judge in Phoenix blocked the state’s “personality” law of 2021, which gives fetuses all legal rights, and abortion rights groups put providers at risk of prosecution of various crimes. Said.

Judge Douglas Rays of the US District Court said in his written judgment that the group sued to block the law was correct.

“And that’s the problem,” Rays wrote. “When the disciplinary and regulatory importance of Arizona law as a whole is involved, plaintiffs do not have to guess whether their actions are on the right or wrong side of the law.”

Raise agreed with the challengers that the law appeared unconstitutionally ambiguous.

Similar “personality” laws are in force in at least four states, including Missouri, Kansas, Georgia, and Alabama.

It is unclear whether abortion has been suspended in Arizona since the US Supreme Court ruled last month that women have no constitutional right to abortion. The abortion provider has suspended virtually all procedures. This is because before 1901, all possible abortions were banned and other laws made the risk too high.

Video: Arizona’s Abortion Struggle Centered on “Personality” Law

At least in Pima County, where the 1901 law remains blocked, it may be legal, but Attorney General Mark Benovich will request the court to lift the order and allow it to be enforced.

Raise refused to block the personality law last year, but abortion groups renewed their demands after the Roe v. Wade case was withdrawn.

They argued that the law was too vague, fearing that providers could be prosecuted for child abuse, assault, or a series of other crimes. There are also concerns about civil and regulatory measures.

The Attorney General’s office told judges that the personality law did not create a new criminal law, but admitted in their court filings that prosecutors and courts may have different views.

The abortion group welcomed the ruling.

“The court made the right decision today by blocking the law from being used to create an unthinkable extreme abortion ban,” said a lawyer at the Reproductive Rights Center who alleged the case. , Said Jessica Skrullski. “The Supreme Court’s devastating ruling overturning the Roe v. Wade case has unleashed the turmoil on earth, and Arizona residents are struggling to find out if they can get the abortion treatment they need.”

A spokesman for the Arizona Attorney General’s office said the focus was on “clarifying Arizona’s law.”

“Today’s ruling is based on an interpretation of Arizona law that our office did not agree with, and we are carefully considering the next steps,” spokesman Britni Thomasson said in an email. Said.

The Attorney General’s lawyer told Rays at a hearing on July 8 that the law did not create new crimes that could lead to prosecution. The “personality” law states that all other state laws should be construed as giving the fetus all rights.

The Attorney General’s office said in a court filing that Mr Rays understood it correctly last September when he refused to block the law. Raise quoted the US Supreme Court’s ruling from 1989, when the court refused to block nearly the same law in Missouri.

Mr Rays said he changed his mind about the relevance of the case.

“The court is now convinced that relying on Webster for the first lap was wrong,” he wrote.

Sklarsky argues that personality law is unconstitutionally ambiguous in some respects, and the Attorney General is in court documents, “anyone can guess how a state judge or prosecutor applies the law. I told Rays.

Raise’s decision, including the possibility of a trial, prevents law enforcement while preceded by a court opposition.

“Health providers are literally or based solely on how the largest state licenses, law enforcement agencies, and judicial authorities interpret the orders of the Interpretation Policy, otherwise legal performance of duties is criminal. You don’t have to guess if it could lead to civil or professional liability, “Raise said.

The state now has broad rights to limit abortion and is now able to enforce many laws that limit or block all previously blocked abortions. It has led to battles in many states and is now in force.

Arizona is in that position, and Republican Governor Doug Ducey said the ban on abortion 15 weeks after it was signed in March takes precedence over pre-1901 legislation that Benovich enforced. It states.

According to the latest report from the Arizona Department of Health, there were just over 13,000 abortions in Arizona in 2020. Of them, less than 650 were performed 15 weeks after gestation.