Horne announces appeals court reversal of lower court abortion law ruling - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Community Notes

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Horne announces appeals court reversal of lower court abortion law ruling

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Posted: Tuesday, August 30, 2011 1:00 pm

Attorney General Tom Horne announced that the Arizona Court of Appeals has overturned a Maricopa County Superior Court ruling that prevented the enforcement of four state abortion-related statutory provisions signed into law in 2009.

The case in question is Planned Parenthood of Arizona vs. the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Attorney General Tom Horne, et al. Writing for a unanimous court, Judge Peter B. Swann held that "the four statutory provisions that regulate the performance of abortions [do not] violate the equal protection or privacy clauses of the Arizona Constitution." The court vacated an order issued by the Maricopa County Superior Court in September, 2009, that enjoined enforcement of the challenged provisions, including (1) the requirement that a parent's consent to a minor's abortion be notarized; (2) the requirement that a physician provide in-person counseling to a woman at least 24 hours before she has the abortion; (3) the requirement that physicians perform surgical abortions; and (4) the provision that allows health professionals to refuse to participate in abortions if they have a moral or religious objection to such procedures.

The court noted as follows: "We hold that the statutes at issue would withstand federal constitutional scrutiny, and that the Arizona Constitution - to the extent it protects abortion rights at all - offers no greater protection than the federal constitution with respect to the regulations at issue in this case."

In addition, the court specifically rejected Planned Parenthood's argument that the statutory provisions had to withstand "strict scrutiny" and held that the proper standard to apply is the "undue burden" test articulated by the United States Supreme Court in a 1992 case captioned Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

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