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Columnists: Supreme Court's Ruling Should Be Signal To Antiabortion-Rights Lawmakers

December 17, 2014 — Two Arizona Republic columnists recently weighed in on the Supreme Court's decision not to consider a federal appeals court's ruling that blocked provisions in an Arizona law (HB 2036) that restricted medication abortion. The high court's refusal to take the case means that the law will remain unenforced for now while the legal challenge continues in the lower courts.

~ Laurie Roberts, Arizona Republic: Roberts notes that after the high court's decision this week, opponents of abortion rights now "are 0-3 this year" in cases regarding the legality of Arizona's abortion restrictions. First, the Supreme Court in January declined to hear the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling striking down a provision in 2012 state law (HB 2036) banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy in most cases. Then, in February, the court "refused to hear the state's plea to revive a 2012 law [HB 2800] that stripped funding from doctors and clinics that perform abortions," which the 9th Circuit had also struck down. However, Roberts warns that "conservative legislators ... are no doubt cranking out more bills" and will "battle on with a new batch of bills in January, followed by a new batch of court fights" (Roberts, Arizona Republic, 12/15).

~ Linda Valdez, Arizona Republic: After the Supreme Court's "cue" on the case, "Arizona lawmakers should declare a moratorium on abortion laws" during the next legislative session, Valdez argues. She adds that "[t]he state has more pressing needs than playing roadblock to women who are seeking reproductive health care" and that "the handiwork of our intrepid lawmakers is still working its way through the legal system." Further, Valdez notes that there is precedent for such a move, as "[i]n the early 1990s, then-Senate President John Greene -- a conservative Republican -- put a moratorium on abortion bills" for two years. She concludes, "Current legislative leadership should follow that lead" (Valdez, Arizona Republic, 12/15).