Alliance Defending Freedom Represents AZ Lawmakers in Pro-Life Motion

By  //  April 5, 2023

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In February, President of the Arizona State Senate Warren Peterson and Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives Ben Toma, represented by Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys, filed a motion to intervene in defense of a state law that prevents the abortion of children based on genetic abnormalities.

In 2021, former Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed SB 1457 — a bill that prohibits selective abortion because of genetic abnormalities of the child and implements reasonable regulations for at-home use of abortion-inducing drugs.

Arizona had prohibited persons from “perform[ing] an abortion knowing that the abortion is sought based on the sex or race of the child or the race of a parent of that child” since 2011. In 2021, Arizona added to its ban on discriminatory abortions based on sex and race by including a prohibition against discriminatory abortions based on genetic abnormalities, such as Down syndrome.

Two abortionists and three organizations that oppose these protections filed a lawsuit, Isaacson v. Mayes, which seeks to have SB 1457 struck down.

The motion filed by ADF attorneys explains that Kris Mayes, the current Arizona Attorney General, in stark contrast to the prior Attorney General, has “promised not to prosecute doctors and other medical professionals who perform abortions in violation of Arizona law,” has “vowed to use her supervisory authority to prevent county attorneys from prosecuting illegal abortions” and has “publicly expressed that she will not defend and enforce Arizona’s abortion laws, including the laws at issue here.”

It argues that the President and Speaker are entitled to exercise their statutory rights to “defend the constitutionality of state statutes” and to advocate for the “life and equal dignity of vulnerable unborn children.”

The motion concludes that because Attorney General Mayes will not defend the constitutionality of the challenged laws, the existing parties do not adequately represent the Legislative Leaders’ interests. In March, the Court granted their motion to intervene.

In a statement regarding SB 1457, Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Denise Burke said, “Every unborn life is valuable, precious, and worthy of protection.” She added, “No one should be discriminated against because of his or her genetic makeup, especially unborn children who are marked for death, simply because a medical test has indicated they might carry a genetic anomaly like Down syndrome. Furthermore, no woman should be exposed to the documented health risks of using abortion-inducing chemicals at home without the direct supervision of a medical professional. Abortion not only ends the life of an innocent child, but it also often leaves mothers physically and emotionally scarred.”

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is the world’s largest legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, marriage and family, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

The organization has been a leading voice in promoting and defending pro-life laws across the country. It has been involved in multiple cases against Planned Parenthood, several implicating Planned Parenthood affiliates for millions in taxpayer fraud. 

Alliance Defending Freedom also provides resources and support to pro-life advocates and litigates cases involving abortion laws and regulations. ADF attorneys have successfully defended several laws that protect women’s health and safety, as well as laws that require informed consent and parental involvement in a minor’s abortion decision.

ADF attorneys helped draft and defend Mississippi’s pro-life law at the center of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization – the case in which the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade – and are now working in 12 other states to defend their pro-life laws: Arizona, Iowa, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Alliance Defending Freedom’s advocacy in the pro-life arena has helped shape the national conversation on life issues and has represented the culture of life in the media, in Congress, and in statehouses across the country.