Arizona Judge Douglas Rayes is ready to hear oral arguments Tuesday on Arizona’s 2021 ban on abortions due to genetic abnormalities, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning the Roe v. Wade precedent. Rayes today issued a 10 page memorandum listing what questions he would like attorneys for the abortion providers/supporters and the state to address in the U.S. District Court injunction hearing.

“The Court must consider these issues fresh and carefully ensure its analysis comports with Dobbs,” Rayes wrote. At the same time that the Supreme Court majority handed down that landmark opinion, it vacated Rayes’ previous injunction. That 6-3 majority noted that Roe and subsequent cases had “diluted the strict standard for facial constitutional challenges…ignored the Court’s third-party standing doctrine… disregarded standard res judicata principles… flouted the ordinary rules on the severability of unconstitutional provisions.. and they have distorted First Amendment doctrines.” (empahsis added)

Therefore, Rayes tells the parties he “must take a harder look” at several issues. He then asks 13 questions for the plaintiffs’ attorneys and 7 for the defendants’. He is looking at the arguments that the provisions in the 2021 ban are unconstitutionally vague when considered collectively, and how each provision might stand on its own. He is asking the state to explain the phrase defining “genetic abnormality” as “the presence or presumed presence of an abnormal gene expression”, and whether any other Arizona laws require a defendant – in this hypothetical case, a medical provider – to know the “subjective motives of another person”.

This case is one of several that are active against one or another of Arizona’s jigsaw puzzle of abortion bans. The Arizona Court of Appeals is considering the Territorial era complete abortion ban, and oral argument is set for November 3 in Superior Court on a case filed by the Arizona Medical Association seeking to establish that that compete ban does not apply to licensed physicians (who would be subject to the many restrictions and the 2022 15-week ban. 

There have been calls for the Legislature to go into special session to pass a law that would clarify the jumble of overlapping and conflicting laws.

This article was reported by AZ Law founder Paul Weich. Paul was running for a seat in Arizona’s House of Representatives.

“AZ Law” includes articles, commentaries and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts, etc. AZ Law is founded by Phoenix attorney Paul Weich, and joins Arizona’s Politics on the internet. 

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