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October 1, 2021

Federal Judge Blocks Arizona's Discriminatory Abortion Ban

A pro-life omnibus bill was set to go into effect this Tuesday. Just eight hours before it could be enforced, however, U.S. District Judge Douglas Rayes blocked a portion of the bill. Unless he changes his mind or a higher court overrides his decision, Arizona will not be able to protect unborn children with genetic anomalies from discriminatory abortions.

The Arizona bill prohibits abortionists from aborting an unborn child simply because they were diagnosed with a genetic anomaly, such as Down syndrome. Judge Rayes was not sympathetic to the bill nor Arizona's defense of it.

“The mechanism Arizona has chosen is not designed to encourage women to choose childbirth,” Rayes wrote in the 30-page decision. “It is designed to thwart them from making any other choice… Arizona may not further its interest by erecting a substantial obstacle in the paths of women who have chosen to terminate their pre-viability pregnancies, which is what Arizona has done here.”

The state argued that the bill advances the interests of Arizona by protecting the disability community from discrimination, preventing abortionists from subtly coercing women into aborting babies believed to have “genetic abnormality,” and “upholding the integrity of the medical profession.”

Judge Rayes did allow a "personhood" provision to become law. While it does not supersede federal law (and Supreme Court precedent), the provision declares that Arizona laws will recognize unborn children as having “all rights, privileges and immunities available to other persons, citizens and residents of this state.”