Health

ACLU Files Lawsuit Against Arizona Law Outlawing Race or Sex-Based Abortions

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The American Civil Liberties Union is taking up arms against an Arizona law that has banned sex or race-based abortions.

The 2011 law made it a felony for physicians to provide an abortion while knowing the reason was because of the baby’s sex or race. The ACLU has claimed that the law illegally and unconstitutionally singles out Asian and black women and uses stereotypes that claim Asian women often abort babies based on male preference and black women based on race preference.

The ACLU, representing the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's Maricopa County branch and the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, filed a lawsuit Wednesday seeking an injunction against the law.

In addition, the law requires all doctors to question patients about their intentions, as well as to sign an affidavit swearing that the race and/or sex of the baby is not the reason for the abortion.

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"This law is clearly a wolf in sheep's clothing that purports to be about achieving equality for women when in reality it's an attempt to control our reproductive decisions-making," said Miriam Yeung, NAPAWF's executive director. "We hope the judgment in this case will expose the true intentions of the politicians behind these abortion bans and show unequivocally that they discriminate against women of color, Asian-American and African-American in particular."

One of the sponsors of the bill, Rep. Steve Montenegro (R), claims that the law intends to prevent discrimination, not exacerbate it.

"We don't want to discriminate based on somebody's sex or somebody's race," said Montenegro. "This has to do with protecting the dignity of life and not allowing abortions to be performed based on the sex of the baby or the race of the baby. That's what this is about."

Discrimination, then, in this case, depends on the point of view: the mother’s or the child’s. The law is clearly attempting to protect the child from discrimination, and the ACLU is attempting to protect women’s 14th amendment equal protection rights.

The equal amendment clause does contend that laws cannot be passed with a discriminatory intent in mind, but depending on the judge’s point of view — the child’s or the mother’s — this case could go either way.

Sources: Huffington Post, Miami Herald