Arizona’s attorney general asks SCOTUS to put anti-abortion law back on the books

The Washington Examiner reports that Mark Brnovich, the Republican attorney general of Arizona, just asked the U.S. Supreme Court to allow a law that bans abortions for fetal genetic conditions to take effect while it is being litigated. 

Brnovich submitted the emergency request on Tuesday.

“Every society will ultimately be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable,” he tweeted. “I am proud to stand up for Arizona’s law protecting the unborn.”

Background

The law that Brnovich is referring to is S.B. 1457. It was passed by the Republican-led state legislature of Arizona, and it was signed by Gov. Doug Ducey (R) back in April.

The law, specifically, bans an abortion from being performed “solely because of a genetic abnormality of the child.” These abnormalities would include such conditions as cystic fibrosis and Down syndrome. The legislation, however, does permit an abortion to be performed if the abnormality is considered lethal.

After the bill was signed into law by Ducey, it was challenged by abortion advocates and the Arizona Medical Association physician’s group, among others. And, in September, a federal judge decided that the implementation of the law ought to be put on hold while its legality is being litigated.

It is this decision that Brnovich is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn, allowing the law to take effect while its legality is being litigated.

Accepting the invitation

The timing of Brnovich’s emergency request cannot be overlooked.

It comes after the U.S. Supreme Court just heard oral arguments in Dobbs. v. Jackson Women’s Health, where the court is considering a ban placed by Mississippi on abortions at the 15-week mark of the pregnancy. The law takes aim at Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which, together, establish the right for pre-viability abortions and prevent states from placing an “undue burden” on this right.

Given the court’s current makeup, which is 5 conservatives, 3 liberals, and Chief Justice John Roberts, who appears likely to side with the liberals on this issue, and given the comments made by the justices during those oral arguments, many believe that there is a real possibility that the Supreme Court could overturn Roe and Casey.

In addition, the Supreme Court just ruled that a Texas law that bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected can stay in effect while its legality is being challenged in the courts.

Brnovich likely looked at what has been going on at the Supreme Court and saw an opportunity, which he has now taken, to get Arizona’s anti-abortion law back on the books. We’ll see if the justices allow it.

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