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The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed an emergency on Saturday in an attempt to block the state’s 2021 “personality law,” which they claim could be used to ban all abortions in Arizona.
That United States Supreme Court passed a ruling Friday overturning Roe v. Wade, meaning states can now enforce their own abortion rights laws.
Arizona has two abortion lawsone from more than 100 years ago banning all abortions, and one signed earlier this year banning the procedure after 15 weeks with exceptions for cases to save the mother’s life.
Saturday’s proposal challenges a 2021 law banning abortions sought because an unborn child has a survivable genetic abnormality. That law makes it a crime for a doctor to terminate a pregnancy due to a genetic abnormality. The legislation also contains a provision on “personality”.
A U.S. district judge blocked part of it law of genetic abnormalities last year, but opted out of putting the “personality” provision on hold. The provision notes that the state will interpret all laws to grant civil rights to unborn children.
The ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights claim that the “personality” provision exposes doctors and pregnant women to potential prosecution, saying that providers can be prosecuted under several laws, including danger to children or assault.
The Center for Arizona Policy, a conservative nonprofit lobby group, said Saturday that the state legislature approved the law to confirm that unborn children have full rights if Roe v. Wade was converted.
“The overthrow of Roe allows states to enact abortion laws,” said group president Cathi Herrod. “Arizona enacted this law to say that unborn children are protected by law.”
Herrod said she expects further challenges for Arizona’s abortion legislation.
The lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of two abortion providers, argues that the law of “personality” is too vague.
The law states that civil and criminal law must ensure the rights of fetuses, embryos, and fertilized human eggs at any stage of development. According to the proposal, the law does not provide any guidance on how it should be applied to abortion care.
Abortion providers across the state were forced to suspend proceedings following Friday’s 5-4 Supreme Court ruling.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.