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Federal judge puts block on part of Arizona abortion ban hours prior to start

by Premier Journalist

A district judge placed a temporary block on part of a recently passed abortion ban in Arizona.

On Tuesday, Judge Douglas L. Rayes filed a partial preliminary injunction hours before the law would come into effect. The aspect he had concerns with was that a doctor could be charged for terminating a pregnancy on the basis of a hereditary abnormality alone. 

In his order, Rayes, who serves as a judge in the District of Arizona, argued that, because a doctor would be required to inform patients of that aspect of the law, it would encourage those whose fetus was diagnosed with a genetic abnormality to "conceal this information from or lie to her doctor, neither of which fosters trust or encourages open dialogue."

Rayes also argued that "Arizona's more abstract concern with how the public might perceive the medical profession does not outweigh the concrete damage" that the recommended law would do to a doctor's relationship with their patient.

Rayes also notes that the law's criminal provisions were "unconstitutionally vague" and made it unclear how one would determine if a doctor is aware of a fetal genetic abnormality.

While Rayes was willing to block this particular part of the law, the judge declined to grant an injunction concerning a part of the law that required others to refer to fetuses and embryos as "people."

Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy and proponent for the abortion ban, stated that "We remain confident the law will be upheld and ruled enforceable in its entirety," Emily Nestler, senior counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, said that "We're incredibly relieved that this 'reason ban' will be blocked while this case continues." 

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