Planned Parenthood drops lawsuit against Arizona pro-life laws

By Dave Andrusko

It is altogether wonderful news but comes seemingly out of the blue and without warning or explanation.

Under the headline, “Planned Parenthood Drops Abortion Restriction Lawsuit in Arizona,” Howard Fischer, who writes for Capitola Media Services, tells us  “Planned Parenthood has quietly dropped its lawsuit challenging several abortion restrictions in Arizona, including the requirement for a 24-hour waiting period.”

Meaning? “Tuesday’s action means the state is free to continue enforcing not only the cooling off period but also other challenged restrictions, including who can perform what abortion-related services and prohibiting doctors from prescribing abortion medications by telemedicine,” Fischer writes. Even at the time the lawsuit was filed in 2019, Planned Parenthood of Arizona conceded some of the laws had been previously litigated.

No one would explain to Fischer why they told U.S. District Court Judge Jennifer Zipps “to dismiss the legal challenge.”All they did provide, according to Fischer, was “a written statement about its ongoing concerns about the statutes in question.”

As we wrote back in 2019, Planned Parenthood said the laws were “medically unnecessary. According to Dustin Gardiner of the Arizona Republic   the three areas at issue are (1) the requirement that only physicians may perform abortions; (2) that after meeting with the abortionist, the abortion-minded woman wait 24 hours before (if she chooses) to have an abortion; and (3) the ban on using telemedicine/video conferencing as a way of distributing chemical abortifacients without the abortionist ever meeting with the woman.

However, pro-lifers speculated that the withdrawal was in response to a “changing legal environment.” That would include the replacement of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with Justice Amy Coney Barrett. But it also could reflect cases decided since the Supreme Court’s decision in June Medical Services, L.L.C. v. Russo. Here’s Fischer’s summary:

In June the U.S. Supreme Court did rule 5-4 that Louisiana has no legal right to prohibit doctors from terminating pregnancies unless they also have admitting privileges at nearby local hospitals.

That, however, really was a divided ruling, with Justice Stephen Breyer, writing for himself and three other justices that the requirement served no legitimate purpose in protecting the health of women. But Chief Justice John Roberts, in becoming the deciding vote, said he was not accepting those arguments but agreeing to the result based on different precedents.