Ducey, the governors ask the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade

PHOENIX – Governor Doug Ducey wants the United States Supreme Court to overturn its landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade and leaves the question of whether to allow abortion in Arizona to state lawmakers – and to him as an unabashed enemy of the practice.

Ducey is one of 12 governors who filed a brief in the country’s High Court on Thursday in favor of a Mississippi law prohibiting termination of a pregnancy after the 15th week. The application of this law was blocked by the Court of Appeal of the 5th Circuit.
But the brief goes beyond Mississippi’s arguments that the law is an authorized regulation of abortion because it does not outright prohibit the practice.

Instead, Ducey and his fellow governors want judges to reconsider the original 1973 ruling and subsequent rulings that the government lacks the power to decide a woman’s decision to keep or discontinue a woman. fetus before viability. This, in turn, would leave the matter to the legislatures and governors of each of the states.

Potentially more importantly, it might not even require a public debate or a vote in Arizona on the issue of a woman’s abortion rights.

This is because lawmakers have never repealed many of the laws predating Roe v. Wade, which means they remain on the books, although they are currently unenforceable. The question remains whether they would automatically resume if Roe were canceled.

At the very least, it would bring the issue of abortion rights back to the forefront in future statewide political and legislative races, which until now was not necessary given the the decision of the Supreme Court.

But that’s exactly what they want, according to the governors.

“The Constitution preserves the rights of states by specifically enumerating the powers granted to the federal government”,

Ducey said in a prepared statement explaining his decision to seek to overthrow Roe. “Sadly, almost 50 years ago, the United States Supreme Court decided to ignore the Constitution and created a policy that has led to the over-politicization of this issue for decades.”

And the governor has made it clear where his feelings lie if Arizona decides whether abortion remains legal here.

“Every life has immeasurable value,” he said.

“This includes unborn children,” Ducey continued. “And I believe it is the responsibility of every state to protect them.”

But Representative Athena Salman, D-Tempe, called Ducey’s legal efforts “condescending, sexist and extreme.”

“Here we have yet another man who will never get pregnant, who will never be faced with a choice of whether to have an abortion or not, abusing the position of his elected office to deny this basic element of healthcare to millions. of people. over millions of people who will need it at some point in their lives, ”she said, citing figures that one in four women will end a pregnancy. And Salman said it is a basic constitutional right – and a national one – and not something that should be decided state by state.

“It is fundamentally wrong for your zip code to determine whether or not you can access a safe and regulated form of health care and abortion,” she said.

Whitney Walker, vice president of Planned Parenthood Arizona, questioned Ducey’s desire to get involved in the issue.

Instead of focusing on increasing the number of COVID-19 cases or educating the public about getting vaccinated, Governor Ducey is concerned about denying access to essential health care to residents of the State, all in the midst of a global pandemic, ”she said in a prepared statement. “Ducey needs to stop playing politics and start doing what’s right for Arizona.”

Blocking Mississippi law, the 5th Circuit said Roe felt the right to privacy “is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.”

The judges said this was reaffirmed in a 1992 case, saying “the interests of the state are not strong enough to support a ban on abortion or the imposition of a substantial obstacle to the effective right to the woman to choose the procedure “.

Ducey and the other governors want the current crop of Supreme Court justices to conclude that these decisions were an unlawful attack on state sovereignty. This, they said, would allow states “to serve as laboratories of democracy to establish and implement appropriate abortion regulations based on the latest scientific knowledge.”

But Ducey, in his six years as governor, never said he wanted some sort of review as to when abortions should be legal.

Instead, citing his pro-life stance, he signed every bill restricting abortion that has reached his office. And a panel of hand-appointed governors have even gone so far as to prevent state employees from making payroll deductions at Planned Parenthood while allowing donations to Alliance Defending Freedom, a law firm. openly anti-abortion public interest who went to court to defend legislation restricting abortion rights.
In their legal brief, the governors said that the question of whether to allow or prohibit abortion was up to states.

“Once voters have voted, it is up to the state legislature to decide how the state regulates abortion,” Ducey and his colleagues told the court.

“And if voters don’t like what a legislature does, then they have the ultimate control of democracy: the ballot box,” they continued. “There is nothing wrong with returning this question to the people. “

What that would also do is shift the stage of debate.

“The issue would no longer dominate presidential campaigns,” the governors said. Instead, the focus would be on the state level, which they say “better allows these different voices to be heard and to shape policy.”

For the most part, however, the composition of the Arizona legislature has tilted towards passing more and more restrictions in an attempt to bypass – if not directly challenge – Roe v. Wade.

For example, a 2012 law, signed by Ducey’s predecessor Jan Brewer, aimed to ban 20-week abortions. A federal appeals court has ruled it against Roe and women’s constitutional right to terminate a fetus that is not yet viable outside the womb.

This year alone, the legislature approved and Ducey signed a measure to criminalize child abortion due to a fetal genetic defect despite allegations by enemies who interfere with women’s rights to make decisions before the point of viability. This same law also:

• Allows the husband of a woman who requests such an abortion, or the parents of the woman if she is under 18, to bring an action on behalf of the unborn child.

• Prohibits women from obtaining otherwise legal drugs to perform medical abortion by mail or other delivery services.

• States that the laws of Arizona are to be interpreted so as to give an unborn child the same rights, privileges and immunities as anyone else.

This law comes into force at the end of September. Planned Parenthood said no decision has been made on the court challenge as a violation of the rights set out in Roe and subsequent court rulings.

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