Two Arizona legislators together with medical and related organizations filed motions Tuesday through their attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund and Center for Arizona Policy to intervene as defendants in separate federal and state lawsuits aimed at stopping new protections for women considering an abortion.
"Women, like anyone else considering any other medical procedure, deserve information about the abortion procedure, its risks and alternatives, as well as an in-person consultation with a doctor," said CAP President Cathi Herrod. "The Abortion Consent Act being challenged empowers women and girls to make informed choices about their healthcare. If the abortion industry led by Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights really cared about women's rights, they'd welcome this law to allow women to make fully informed choices instead of challenging it in court."
Those seeking to intervene include bill sponsors Sen. Linda Gray and Rep. Nancy Barto,doctors, pharmacists, and other interested organizationsthat wish to defend the common-sense protections offered by the law, including provisions challenged in both lawsuits requiring abortionists to inform women about risks at least 24 hours prior to the procedure and protecting the rights of conscience of healthcare workers. In the state lawsuit, the intervenors seek to defend the challenged provisions prohibiting surgical abortions from being performed by non-doctors and requiring notarization to prevent forgery of a parent's signature authorizing an abortion for their minor daughter.
"The parties seeking to intervene in the lawsuit also support the law's rights of conscience provisions. No one should be forced to participate in or facilitate an abortion that violates their conscience," Herrod explained.
Nearly 30 other states require informed consent by statute with some form of waiting period. Over 40 states require abortions to be performed by licensed physicians. Federal and state courts have upheld these provisions, and they enjoy overwhelming public support. According to a recentHarris poll, 88 percent of adults support laws which require abortion providers to inform mothers of possible risks to their health and of abortion alternatives, 95 percent favor laws ensuring that abortions be performed only by licensed physicians, and 73 percent support laws requiring parental involvement in a minor's abortion. Additional polls indicate that87 percent of Americansbelieve that health care workers should not be forced to participate in abortions.
Themotion to intervene in the state case, Planned Parenthood of Arizona v. Goddard, was filed in the Arizona Superior Court for Maricopa County. Themotion to intervene in the federal lawsuit, Tucson Women's Center v. Arizona Medical Board, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. Attorneys with the BioEthics Defense Fund and Life Legal Defense Foundation also are serving as co-counsel.