Court Battles

Arizona asks Supreme Court to permit ban on abortion for genetic conditions

Associated Press/Ross D. Franklin

Arizona’s Republican attorney general on Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to allow the state’s ban on abortions based on genetic abnormalities to go into effect.

The request by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) marks the latest in a series of clashes over GOP-crafted abortion restrictions to be directed to the justices this term as the court weighs the fate of its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade. 

Brnovich’s request, which was filed to Justice Elena Kagan, who handles emergency matters arising from Arizona, comes after the state lost two rounds in the lower courts, where the law remains blocked. 

The dispute arose after Arizona in April enacted S.B. 1457, which makes it a crime to perform an abortion that is sought “solely because of a genetic abnormality of the child.” The law prompted legal action from a group of doctors and abortion rights advocates ahead of the scheduled September effective date.

A federal judge in Arizona in September temporarily blocked the law while the case plays out. U.S. District Judge Douglas Rayes, an Obama appointee, ruled that the law likely places an unconstitutional burden on the right to abortion prior to fetal viability, typically around 24 weeks, that the Supreme Court recognized in Roe and subsequent rulings. 

Late last month, a San Francisco-based federal appeals court declined to lift the judge’s ruling, prompting Brnovich’s emergency request to the Supreme Court. 

The filing comes less than a week after a divided Supreme Court allowed Texas’s six-week abortion ban to remain in effect while creating a narrow avenue for challenges to be brought in federal court. 

Separately this term, the justices are considering a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks in a clash that takes direct aim at the right to previability abortions, first established in Roe nearly 50 years ago.

Tags Abortion Arizona Elena Kagan Mark Brnovich

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