(LifeSiteNews) — U.S. District Court Judge Douglas Rayes has temporarily blocked enforcement of an Arizona law that criminalizes abortions sought specifically to eliminate preborn babies with genetic abnormalities.
In April, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law SB 1457, which bans abortion providers from knowingly committing abortions “sought because of a genetic abnormality of the child” such as Down syndrome (not including “cases where the child has a lethal fetal condition”), classifying such violations as Class 6 felonies.
The law also bans the dispensing of abortion pills via mail, taxpayer funding of research using aborted babies, and public education institutions from performing abortions except to save a mother’s life, as well as granting civil rights to preborn children regardless of their stage of development and mandating that aborted babies be buried or cremated.
The Arizona Republic reports that Rayes agreed to enjoin enforcement of the law while arguments over its legal merits work through the system. He claimed that a provision requiring abortionists to notify patients about the law would “make it less likely that a woman, though desiring to terminate her pregnancy because of a fetal genetic abnormality, will successfully exercise her right to do so,” and was therefore “state-mandated misinformation.”
He did, however, let some provisions remain in effect, particularly one recognizing fetuses and embryos as having the same rights as any other person, on the grounds that a block was premature without first seeing how it would be enforced and interpreted. The fetal burial and pill-by-mail provisions were allowed to stand, as well.
“We remain confident the law will be upheld and ruled enforceable in its entirety,” responded Center for Arizona Policy president Cathi Herrod. “It’s a shame the abortion industry is standing in the way of protecting the most vulnerable from discrimination and life itself.”
It is a common practice around the world to abort preborn children specifically because of a Down diagnosis; the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute estimates that abortion reduces the Down community in the United States by 30% — despite research finding that 99% of people with Down syndrome described themselves as “happy,” and only 4% of parents of Down children expressed regret about having them.
Regarding more severe situations, the Daily Wire’s Paul Bois notes that “not all cases of babies diagnosed with terminal illnesses in the womb end the same. Some, such as the case of Stephanie and Andy Schoonover, transform the parents in profound ways, allowing them to see life with a new perspective. For others, such as Melanie and Damion Sheenan, the baby defies diagnosis and lives on to become healthy.”
Dr. William Lile, a board-certified OB/GYN and pro-life public speaker, argues that when a baby faces a lethal abnormality, the humane response is not abortion but giving him or her the same “love, the concern, and the care” any born patient would receive. “This is a key concept: the baby in the womb is a patient,” he writes.