Federal judge blocks law that would have given civil rights to the unborn

Obama appointee U.S. District Court Judge Douglas Rayes struck down a law that would have given civil rights to unborn children, saying that it was “unconstitutionally vague.” 

The law, which was passed in 2021, mandated that the state’s laws in Arizona be applied with the assumption that fetuses should be accorded the same rights as citizens and residents of the state, according to AZ Mirror.

Rayes overturned the law on Monday, however, saying that people with “ordinary intelligence” may not be able to understand it.

“A law is unconstitutionally vague if its application is so unclear that people of ordinary intelligence cannot figure out in advance how to comply with it,” Rayes said.

“When the punitive and regulatory weight of the entire Arizona code is involved, Plaintiffs should not have to guess at whether their conduct is on the right or the wrong side of the law,” Rayes added.

The former “personhood” law remained unclear about the legality of abortion and whether it should be considered a crime.

He said that other laws in Arizona’s criminal code regarding assault, child endangerment, and child abuse lack “clear exemptions” for medical abortions, leaving clinicians “left to infer whether their conduct could be criminalized under a maximalist construction” of the “personhood” legislation.

The legislation said  state laws “shall be interpreted and construed to acknowledge, on behalf of an unborn child at every stage of development, all rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of this state.”

The spokeswoman for Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) criticized the decision and stated that the office was considering its options on how to proceed.

“Today’s ruling was based on an interpretation of Arizona law that our office did not agree with, and we are carefully considering our next steps,” his office said in a statement.

Of course, pro-abortion organizations applauded the ruling, alleging that it was “being used to create an unthinkably extreme abortion ban.”

“The Supreme Court’s catastrophic decision overturning Roe v. Wade has unleashed chaos on the ground, leaving Arizona residents scrambling to figure out if they can get the abortion care they need,” Jessica Sklarsky of the Center for Reproductive Rights claimed.

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