State court rules Roe-based abortion 'right' now invalid

 April 9, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that a state right to abortion is invalid because it was based on the federal rights claimed by the now-defunct Roe v. Wade abortion ruling, which has since been tossed out by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The effect is that a Civil War-era abortion ban in the state can be enforced, after a district court takes further action in the dispute.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, the chief of SBA Pro-Life America, explained now unborn children in Arizona now can be protected throughout pregnancy.

"We celebrate this enormous victory for unborn children and their mothers. Reinstating Arizona’s pro-life law will protect more than 11,000 babies annually at all stages of pregnancy while providing an exception for the life of the mother. This includes babies who have heartbeats, babies who can feel pain, and babies who can smile and suck their thumbs. Today’s state Supreme Court decision is a major advancement in the fight for life in Arizona," she explained.

"The compassion of the pro-life movement won in court today, but we must continue to fight. While Republicans have passed bills to ensure that babies born alive after failed abortions receive medical care and stepped up their support for programs that provide life-affirming help for pregnant moms facing homelessness, pro-abortion Gov. Katie Hobbs vetoed born-alive protections and her administration has attacked and defunded pro-life safety net providers."

She added, "Governor Hobbs and her pro-abortion allies will pour millions into deceiving the voters about the upcoming amendment that permits abortion on demand when babies can feel pain and survive outside the womb. We must defeat this extreme measure that would force Arizonans to pay for abortions and eliminate health protections for women."

She warned the pro-abortion ballot proposal would allow "unrestricted, unregulated abortion at any time in pregnancy."

It also would kill longstanding health and safety standards including parental consent, informed consent and abortion business inspections, and force Arizonans to pay abortionists for their services.

The ADF explained the state Supreme Court ruling found a lower court had misinterpreted the law.

The organization represented Dr. Eric Hazelrigg, an obstetrician and medical director of Choices Pregnancy Center in Arizona, who filed a petition last March asking the state’s high court to review an Arizona Court of Appeals decision.

"Life is a human right, and today’s decision allows the state to respect that right and fully protect life again—just as the legislature intended," said ADF spokesman Jake Warner. "Life begins at conception. At just six weeks, unborn babies’ hearts begin to beat. At eight weeks, they have fingers and toes. And at 10 weeks, their unique fingerprints begin to form. Arizona’s pro-life law has protected unborn children for over 100 years, and the people of Arizona, through their elected representatives, have repeatedly affirmed that law, including as recently as 2022. We celebrate the Arizona Supreme Court’s decision that allows the state’s pro-life law to again protect the lives of countless, innocent unborn children."

The court's ruling said, "We conclude that [Arizona's law] does not create a right to, or otherwise provide independent statutory authority for, an abortion that repeals or restricts [the law], but rather is predicated entirely on the existence of a federal constitutional right to an abortion since disclaimed by Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

"Absent the federal constitutional abortion right, and because [the law] does not independently authorize abortion, there is no provision in federal or state law prohibiting [the law’s] operation. Accordingly, [Arizona’s law] is now enforceable."

The court continued, "For the reasons discussed, the legislature has demonstrated its consistent design to restrict elective abortion to the degree permitted by the Supremacy Clause and an unwavering intent since 1864 to proscribe elective abortions absent a federal constitutional right—precisely what it intended and accomplished in § 36-2322. To date, our legislature has never affirmatively created a right to, or independently authorized, elective abortion. We defer, as we are constitutionally obligated to do, to the legislature’s judgment, which is accountable to, and thus reflects, the mutable will of our citizens."

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