PHOENIX – Today, the Supreme Court of the United States denied the state of Arizona its request for the 20-week ban case to be heard.
While plaintiffs in this case were represented by the ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Arizona applauds the decision as an important victory for Arizona women. The Arizona abortion ban would have outlawed abortion almost one month earlier than what court precedent has said for four decades. In the 41 years following Roe v. Wade, in decisions including Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, the Supreme Court has never wavered from the principle that the Constitution protects a woman's decision to have an abortion, and that therefore, a state may not ban abortion prior to viability.
Statement from Bryan Howard, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Arizona:
“This is a significant victory for Arizona women. This case represented a major threat to the right of women in Arizona and across the nation to make personal medical decisions that have been their constitutional right for more than 40 years.
“The Court did the right thing today, but this dangerous and unconstitutional law should never have passed in the legislature in the first place.
"Politicians in Arizona and in the other 49 states should take note – dangerous and unconstitutional restrictions on safe and legal abortion will not pass muster in the courts – or with the public.
“Arizonans don’t want politicians to interfere in their personal health care decisions, but this extreme abortion ban would have done just that. It would have taken the personal decisions a woman makes in consultation with her doctor, family and faith out of her hands and into the hands of politicians, regardless of her situation or circumstance.
· Polls show that a majority of Americans (70 percent) oppose efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade.
· Nearly 99% of abortions in the U.S. occur before 21 weeks’ gestation.
· Often, abortions later in pregnancy involve rare, severe fetal abnormalities and serious risks to the woman’s health. These are often very wanted pregnancies that have gone tragically wrong.
· The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women, opposes this law because it “severely endang[ers] women’s health.” They have said: “The ban will jeopardize women’s health by severely curtailing physicians’ ability to treat patients who face serious health conditions later in pregnancy and will force women to carry pregnancies to term when their fetuses suffer from serious impairments, including those that are incompatible with life…. [The ban also] forces doctors to compromise patient health by waiting until a woman’s health condition qualifies as an emergency before intervening and also prevents doctors from treating women with serious health conditions.”
· There were no exceptions in this ban if the woman’s pregnancy resulted from rape or incest, or if a doctor diagnoses a severe fetal abnormality incompatible with life.
· Doctors oppose these laws because it puts government in the middle of difficult decisions doctors and their patients are forced to make.
In the community for nearly 80 years, Planned Parenthood Arizona is the leading sexual health organization in Arizona. The organization provides health care, education and outreach services to more than 90,000 men, women, teens and parents annually. Planned Parenthood Arizona operates health center locations statewide in Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff. For more information, please visit www.ppaz.org.