Arizona Republicans fighting to defend law prohibiting abortions in genetic defect cases

By Howard Fischer ||  Capitol Media Services  February 6, 2023

The top Republicans in the House and Senate want a judge to let them defend a law that bars abortions in cases of genetic defects, saying newly sworn-in Attorney General Kris Mayes won’t do it. And they have more than adequate reason to believe that.

In new court filings, lawyers for the anti-abortion Alliance Defending Freedom point out that Mayes, even before she took office, said she believes that restrictions on the right of a woman to terminate a pregnancy run afoul of a provision in the Arizona Constitution that says, “no person shall be disturbed in his private affairs.”

And attorney Kevin Theriot said Mayes already has refused to appeal a state Court of Appeals ruling which said women are entitled to an abortion through the first 15 weeks of pregnancy even though another law, dating to territorial days but never repealed, outlaws the procedure entirely except to save the life of the mother.

“Simply put, Attorney General Mayes has publicly expressed that she will not defend and enforce Arizona’s abortion laws, including the laws at issue here,” Theriot told U.S. District Court Judge Douglas Rayes.

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He also said that Mayes, who has some “supervisory authority” over county attorneys, has promised to use that power to prevent them from prosecuting what Theriot calls “illegal abortions.”

So House Speaker Ben Toma of Peoria and Senate President Warren Petersen of Gilbert have asked him to get permission from Rayes to intercede in the case to defend the law.

Mayes on Monday repeated she is not interested in defending the statute.

More: [paywall]

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February 2023