After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe last summer, pregnant patients and their providers are fearful of breaking the law as they navigate health care crises and the changing legal landscape surrounding abortion bans, according to initial findings of the Care Post Roe study. Photo || Getty Images
GLORIA REBECCA GOMEZ
The anti-abortion doctor attempting to restore Arizona’s near-total abortion ban has no legal standing in the case and his petition should be rejected by the court, according to Democratic Attorney General Kris Mayes.
Last December, the state’s appeals court upheld a 2022 law that prohibits most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy over a near-total ban from 1864. That decision came after a year of turmoil as elected officials and abortion providers in Arizona battled over the procedure’s legality following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that eliminated its status as a constitutional right. But in March, anti-abortion law firm Alliance Defending Freedom asked the Arizona Supreme Court to overturn the appellate court’s opinion and outlaw all abortions except in life-saving emergencies.
Mayes, whose predecessor Republican Mark Brnovich fought to reinstate the territorial ban, refused to defend his position. The Democrat, a staunch abortion advocate, campaigned on the promise to protect reproductive rights. Instead, the appeal to the state supreme court is headed by Dr. Eric Hazelrigg, medical director for Choices Pregnancy Centers, a chain of anti-abortion clinics in the Valley. Hazelrigg was admitted into the case in the early stages at Brnovich’s request as the “guardian ad litem” for unborn fetuses, a position created in 1971.
Jane Roe brought the original lawsuit in 1971, challenging the state’s abortion ban to gain access to the procedure. A doctor was appointed as guardian ad litem to represent her unborn fetus and “all others similarly situated”. While the case was later abandoned after the high court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, last year’s events revived it. But circumstances are substantially different, and Hazelrigg doesn’t have the authority to submit an appeal, Mayes said in the most recent filing.
“The Court should be wary of overturning a well-reasoned decision on an issue of great public importance when no proper party seeks to review,” she wrote.