Legislation / Court Cases

9th Circuit Upholds AZ Abortion Regulations; Regs Enjoined – Risk to Women's Health Extended (6/04)

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals [San Francisco] rejected some legal challenges brought by AZ abortion providers against AZ’s abortion site regs, popularly known as “Lou Anne’s Law.”

Significantly, the court ruled that AZ may regulate abortion sites while leaving other types of medical services unregulated or with less regulation.

However, the court also ruled that AZ abortion providers are entitled to an opportunity to prove that the regulations create an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to choose an abortion, overruling the lower court which had found that the regulations did not a create a burden, undue or otherwise, on women’s ability to seek or obtain abortions.

The regulations were enjoined in 2000 at the start of the litigation and will not be implemented until the case is completed.

“More than six years after the tragic and preventable death of Lou Anne Herron in a Phoenix abortion clinic, the health of women entering Arizona abortion clinics is still at risk,” said Nikas, AUL General Counsel. Nikas, along with Denise Burke, AUL’s Senior Litigation Counsel, was appointed a Special Deputy Maricopa County Attorney to defend “Lou Anne’s Law.”

“Right now, a dog has more protection in a veterinary clinic than a woman in an Arizona abortion center,” added Burke.

“Other federal courts have consistently found that abortion center regulations, like those enacted in AZ, are designed to protect women’s health and do not interfere with their right to choose an abortion. We are confident that the district court in Tucson will do the same.”

AUL has been at the forefront of the push by states to regulate often unsafe/substandard abortion sites across the nation.

“It is crucial that pro-life Americans and others who genuinely care about women’s health continue the fight to regulate abortion centers since a majority of states have failed to enact comprehensive and medically appropriate standards such as those recently enacted in AZ, SC, TX, LA and a small number of other states” noted Burke.

[18Jun04, For Immediate Release 21Jun04; Nikas, Esq., (480) 483-3597; Denise Burke, Esq., (210) 520-1622; Americans United for Life]