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Arizona ban against race, gender-based abortions challenged

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona (ACLU-AZ) [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] Wednesday in the US District Court for the District of Arizona [official website] seeking to permanently enjoin a state law [HB 2443, PDF] that penalizes doctors, not patients, who perform abortions when the patient's decision is based solely on the gender or race of the fetus. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the local divisions of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Asian Pacific American Woman's Forum [advocacy websites] and seeks to have the law declared unconstitutional. Senior Counsel for the ACLU-AZ stated [press release] that the law was designed to insinuate that female minorities may be convinced to abort a fetus based on a racist plot against their own demographic, but the Republican sponsors of the act insisted the rationale was to prevent discrimination.

This lawsuit comes on the heels of several developments in controversial state abortion statutes. Earlier this month Arizona's ban on abortions after 20 weeks [JURIST report] was deemed to violate women's rights. Last Friday a judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas [official website] temporarily blocked enforcement of a law banning abortions 12 weeks into a pregnancy [JURIST report]. In December a state judge in Georgia enjoined a law [JURIST report] banning doctors from providing abortions for women more than 20 weeks into gestation. Montana voters in November passed a referendum [JURIST report] requiring notice to parents of minors before a planned abortion procedure. Planned Parenthood [advocacy website] also sued Texas [JURIST report] in October claiming that its law preventing state funding from going to any clinics affiliated with providing abortions violates another state law.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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