Arizona ACLU Sues to Block ‘Personhood’ Abortion Law After Roe Is Overturned

The Arizona affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a motion Saturday that seeks to block the state’s “personhood” law which, they argue, could make all abortions illegal in the state.

The abortion rights groups filed an emergency motion one day after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, returning decisions about abortion to the states.

The motion brings a challenge to an Arizona 2021 law banning abortions sought due to a prenatal diagnosis of a genetic disability and making it a felony for an abortionist to end the life of an unborn child due to the diagnosis.

That piece of legislation additionally included a “personhood” provision that states civil and criminal laws should ensure the rights of unborn children at any stage of development.

A federal judge blocked part of the genetic abnormality law, but decided against holding up the “personhood” provision, which asserts the state is to interpret laws that grant civil rights to the unborn.

In March, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed into law another bill that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy – similar to the Mississippi law at the center of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the ruling for which was delivered by the Supreme Court Friday. The 15-week law was slated to go into effect in September.

“The overturning of Roe allows the states to set abortion laws,” Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod said, according to Fox News.

“Arizona set this law to say that unborn children are protected in the law,” she added regarding the personhood provision.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said a new Arizona law that protects the unborn will be going into effect in about 90 days, reported ABC15 News.

“Attorneys General have a solemn responsibility to defend the most vulnerable among us, and that’s exactly what we did today,” he asserted Friday via Twitter. “I look forward to seeing the issue returned to elected representatives where it belongs. As Americans, we believe in the dignity and value of every person.”

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Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].

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