The Celebrate Life Day rally was organized to commemorate the first anniversary of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Supreme Court decision. / Anna Rose Layden/Getty Images
Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Dec 11, 2023 / 07:00 am (CNA).
This week state Supreme Courts in Arizona, Wyoming, and New Mexico will hear oral arguments for litigation related to the states’ abortion laws. In all three cases, the pro-life side will be argued by lawyers at the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom.
Arizona: Defending life from the moment of conception
The Arizona Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Tuesday, Dec. 12, on whether prosecutors can enforce the state’s pre-Roe v. Wade abortion laws, which prohibited most abortions at the moment of conception.
Arizona’s prohibition was declared unconstitutional shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized abortion nationwide. Despite the law being unenforceable for about 50 years, the state Legislature never repealed the law and the prohibition is still technically written into the state code.
Following the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade in 2022, then-Attorney General Mark Brnovich requested that the 50-year-old injunction that blocked the enforcement of the law be lifted.
The law in question prohibits both chemical and surgical abortions in every case, except when it is necessary to save the life of the mother. There are no criminal penalties on the books for the mother who procures an abortion, but anyone who “provides, supplies, or administers” drugs or other substances, or “employs any instrument or other means whatever, with the intent thereby to procure the miscarriage” is subject to a prison sentence between two and five years.
Following the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, the Arizona Legislature passed a bill to prohibit abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. This is the threshold that is currently enforced in Arizona.
Wyoming: Lawmakers try to defend state’s pro-life laws
The Wyoming Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Tuesday, Dec. 12, on whether two state lawmakers and a pro-life organization have standing to intervene in a lawsuit about the state’s pro-life laws, which are currently held up in the court system.
State Reps. Rachel Rodriguez-Williams and Chip Neiman, along with Right to Life of Wyoming, are appealing a trial court decision that blocked them from intervening in a lawsuit that challenges the Life Is a Human Right Act, which prohibits chemical and surgical abortions in most circumstances.
A district court judge blocked the enforcement of the law in March of this year.
The lawmakers and the pro-life organization argue that they have standing to defend the state law because they “have abiding interests in protecting women and unborn children.”
Abortion is currently legal up to the point of viability in Wyoming.
New Mexico: County asks court not to recognize a constitutional right to abortion
The New Mexico Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Wednesday, Dec. 13, on whether the state constitution protects a right to abortion after state Attorney General Raúl Torrez petitioned the court to strike down local pro-life ordinances in a handful of cities and counties.
In his petition, Torrez asked the court to find a constitutional right to abortion within the New Mexico Constitution and declare the ordinances unconstitutional. There is no explicit right to “abortion” mentioned anywhere in the state constitution, but the attorney general claimed that abortion rights are implied in several sections of the state constitution.
Roosevelt County is asking the Wyoming Supreme Court to find that there is not a constitutional right to abortion. The county is asking the court to allow its ordinance, which bans the shipment of abortion materials by mail, to remain in effect.