Tucson Women's Center v. Arizona Medical Board: Memorandum of Law

09.23.09


Primary Content

In this facial and as-applied challenge, Plaintiffs seek immediate injunctive relief against two provisions of 2009 AZ HB 2564 ("the Act"), an omnibus anti-abortion bill passed by the Arizona legislature earlier this year. If permitted to go into effect on September 30, 2009, the challenged provisions will cause Plaintiffs immediate and irreparable harm. The first provision prevents women seeking abortions from obtaining an abortion procedure on their first visit to a provider, under the provision, such women must hear state-mandated ideological information on that visit and then wait at least 24 hours before returning again for the abortion procedure. These requirements will impose significant, immediate harms on identifiable groups of vulnerable women, including women in abusive relationships, low-income women, and women suffering from illness. The requirements will prevent a substantial number of these women from obtaining abortions at all, and the requirements will impose significantly increased risks on the health and well-being of others. Accordingly, the provision will unduly burden a woman's right to choose an abortion in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

The second provision prevents a physician from charging a patient for any medical services once she makes any inquiry about abortion, at that point, the physician must wait until after the mandated counseling and waiting period transpire before the physician can bill the patient. This provision is clearly intended to financially penalize those who provide abortions, however, at the same time, it is so incomprehensibly vague that it will interfere with the ability of a broad array of physicians to provide appropriate medical services and receive payment for them. Subjecting the Plaintiff physicians to such unintelligible and arbitrary standards, at the risk of their medical licenses, will cause them irreparable harm.

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