A federal judge late Tuesday blocked Arizona from making criminals out of doctors who perform abortions knowing the woman’s reason is a genetic fetal defect.

In a 30-page ruling, Judge Douglas Rayes said the law imposes a undue burden on women. And he said that outweighs any interest the state claims in promoting life.

In fact, Rayes slapped the state for making such a claim in this case.

“The mechanism Arizona has chosen is not designed to encourage women to choose childbirth,” the judge wrote. “It is designed to thwart them from making any other choice.”

Tuesday’s order is not the last word. It still gives attorneys for the state a chance to argue, after a full-blown trial, that the measure is constitutional.

But in issuing the injunction, Rayes said he already has concluded that the challengers are likely to succeed in convincing him that the law cannot stand.

The measure, approved earlier this year by the Republican-controlled legislature, makes it a crime for medical providers to terminate a fetus if they know that the reason the woman is seeking the procedure solely is a genetic abnormality. The law carries a penalty of up to a year in prison for doctors and others; there is no penalty on the woman.

Rayes said there are several flaws with the statute.


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