Judge rules that Arizona law banning abortions due to genetic condition can take effect

By Dave Andrusko

On January 19, U.S. District Court Judge Douglas Rayes refused to block a law that prohibits abortionists from performing an abortion solely because of an unborn baby’s genetic condition “saying that the overturning of Roe v. Wade nullified that request and no actual harm to providers had yet happened,” Gloria Rebecca Gomez reported.

Judge Rayes’ action “reinstates an abortion ban passed in the state in 2021,” News 12 reported. “The law was originally blocked the same year it was passed, but is no longer blocked after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the right to an abortion in 2022” in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health.

Gomez explained that Judge Rayes “wasn’t convinced” by the plaintiffs’ arguments:

He noted that the harm warned by abortion advocates hasn’t occurred — effectively disqualifying that argument. No provider has yet had the genetic abnormality law used against them, and theoretical harm isn’t something that can be ruled on. A claim brought because a law is vague, he added, is only valid if the law in question trespasses on a constitutional right, and the Dobbs ruling from the high court means that the constitutional right to receive or perform an abortion no longer exists. 

“Plaintiffs’ ability to provide (abortion) care without undue state interference is a battle fought and lost in Dobbs,” Rayes wrote. 

Howard Fisher went further in explaining Rayes’s reasoning.

He said lawsuits to enjoin a law from being enforced can be mounted if a vague law results in someone being “chilled from engaging in a constitutionally protected activity.’’ When he first ruled in 2021, the judge said he concluded that doctors, facing the new law, likely would err on the side of caution and not perform abortions in cases where a patient’s motive might be ambiguous or where outsiders might cite circumstantial evidence to claim a doctor knew the patient had a “prohibited motive.’’

But, Rayes wrote, “Dobbs eliminated the right to elective abortion.”

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