Federal Court Allows Arizona Doctors to Challenge State Abortion Law
A federal appeals court has ruled that Arizona doctors can challenge a state law that bans abortions sought after a fetal genetic defect is diagnosed. In a 23-page decision, the three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said the doctors’ legal standing, under the threat of prosecution and revocation of licenses, is valid. The 2021 law also allows the father of an unborn child who is married to the mother to file a civil suit against action, as well as a similar right for a parent in the case of an unmarried mother.
Doctors Challenge a Law That They Say Is Unconstitutional
Several doctors who perform abortions have filed a lawsuit arguing that the 2021 measure is unconstitutionally vague and overly broad, as it imposes a criminal penalty and revocation of licenses on doctors who perform abortions due to a genetic abnormality that would threaten a Class 6 felony (carrying a prison term of one year). The lawsuit argues that the law’s “reason regulation” and “subjective decision” is unclear and infringes doctors’ discretion and expertise in assessing a patient’s need for medical care. Other legal challenges allege that the law is unconstitutional because it violates Roe v. Wade, which established the constitutional right to an abortion.
Legal Uncertainty Surrounding Abortion Laws in Arizona
The appeals court did not decide whether the Arizona law itself is constitutional but rather focused on the ability of doctors to challenge the law. Furthermore, this latest decision adds to the legal uncertainty surrounding abortion rights in Arizona, as several different legal challenges are pending. In a related case, the Arizona Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in December about whether abortions are legal through the 15th week of pregnancy.
Reproductive Rights Remain Contentious Issue in American Politics
Abortion rights remain one of the most contentious issues in American politics. Supporters of abortion rights argue that restrictions violate a woman’s right to autonomy and medical privacy as enshrined by the US Constitution, while opponents of abortion argue that the procedure ends the life of an innocent human being.
The legal and political battles surrounding abortion illustrate the foundational differences in values and philosophical perspectives in the United States. The impact of these cases is felt beyond the legal and political spheres, representing deep-seated concerns about the ethical, medical, and economic implications of a highly divisive issue.
Read more about this topic at
US Abortion Policies and Access After Roe – Guttmacher Institute
Abortion in Arizona | ACLU of Arizona – ACLU of Arizona