Battle Over Sanctity of Life Hits AZ, WY & NM Supreme Courts All at Once: 'Life Is a Human Right'
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Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last June, there has been a fierce battle brewing at the state level among those defending the preborn and those who support abortion.
This debate will take center stage next week at the Arizona Supreme Court, Wyoming Supreme Court, and New Mexico Supreme Court, where each of those states' highest courts will decide the abortion issue and the fate of hundreds of children for years to come.
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a non-profit legal group, will argue the three separate cases.
Planned Parenthood Arizona v. Mayes
In Arizona, the ADF will be arguing in favor of that state's historical pro-life law at the Arizona Supreme Court.
After the ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization last year, then-Attorney General Mark Brnovich asked the Arizona courts to allow for enforcement of Arizona's pre-Roe law, which protects life from the moment of conception.
The law includes criminal penalties for abortionists who perform unlawful abortions, and it has an exception for protecting the life of the mother.
The Arizona AG's request was granted, however, Planned Parenthood appealed.
The appeals court ruled to keep in place a nearly 50-year-old injunction that halted the pro-life law from taking effect.
ADF attorneys are representing Dr. Eric Hazelrigg, an obstetrician and medical director of Choices Pregnancy Center in Arizona, who filed a petition in March asking the state's high court to review the lower court's ruling.
Last September, the Arizona Superior Court in Pima County appointed Hazelrigg as the guardian ad litem to legally represent the best interests of unborn children in Arizona.
"Arizona women deserve the dignity and respect that comes from receiving life-affirming health care and support—not the abortion industry's false choice between doing what's best for the mother and protecting the life of her child," said ADF Senior Counsel Denise Harle, director of the ADF Center for Life.
Harle added, "We urge the Arizona Supreme Court to allow the state's pro-life law to take effect and protect the lives of countless innocent, unborn children."
Johnson v. Wyoming
The ADF will argue before the Wyoming Supreme Court to defend the state's pro-life laws that would protect unborn persons from being aborted and protect the health and safety of women and girls against the dangers of chemical abortion drugs.
The attorneys will be representing the Right to Life of Wyoming and two state legislators who filed a notice of appeal to the Wyoming Supreme Court after the trial court blocked them from intervening in defense of the Life Is a Human Right Act.
They explained that the Right to Life of Wyoming and the legislators "have abiding interests in protecting women and unborn children. The Legislators have an ongoing interest in protecting their authority to regulate abortion and related issues. (Right to Life of Wyoming) has an interest in ensuring that its advocacy efforts on behalf of (the Life is a Human Right Act) are fully defended and vindicated."
"The state of Wyoming is eager to uphold its law affirming that life is a human right and ensure women are given the real health care and support they deserve," said ADF Senior Counsel Tim Garrison.
"Our clients have a clear interest in defending that law, which safeguards the lives of unborn children and the well-being of their mothers. We will urge the Wyoming Supreme Court to allow them to help defend Wyoming's duly enacted law," he continued.
New Mexico v. Board of County Commissioners for Lea County
In New Mexico, Roosevelt County and several other localities enacted ordinances that adopted longstanding federal law, prohibiting the shipment of abortion materials by mail or other common carriers.
The state attorney general asked the Court to strike down the Roosevelt County ordinance and create a new so-called "right" to abortion in the New Mexico Constitution.
The ADF filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of three pro-life advocacy
organizations, urging the court to safeguard maternal health and unborn lives by refusing to add a new so-called right to abortion to the state's constitution.
"State and local governments have the strongest possible interest in protecting the most fundamental of our human rights—the right to life—and it's clear the New Mexico Constitution does not contain a right to take innocent, unborn life," said Harle.
"We urge the New Mexico Supreme Court to allow Roosevelt County, and other New Mexico localities, to enforce ordinances that comply with federal law and protect the lives of children and mothers," she added.
CompassCare v. Cuomo
Meanwhile, another major abortion case is also playing out, but this time it's in a federal court regarding a law in New York state.
The ADF will argue the case at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York for a pro-life pregnancy center, a church, and the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) asking the courts to protect them from being forced to hire employees who do not agree with their pro-life fundamental beliefs and missions.
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