LB - Yavapai College 0425 Administration of Justice

Home | Classifieds | Place Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Kudos | Obits | Real Estate | Subscriber Services | Villager | Health Directory | Contact Us
The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news May 1, 2016

7/9/2013 9:39:00 AM
Going over Horne's head in abortion battle

Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services

PHOENIX -- Saying the interests of Attorney General Tom Horne may not align with theirs, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery and a religious-based law firm want federal court permission to defend a state law that bans abortion to select the gender or race of a child.

In legal filings Monday, the lawyers told a federal judge that they have a perspective about why the 2-year-old law is legal that Horne may not share. More to the point, they contend that the interests of Montgomery and state Rep. Steve Montenegro, R-Litchfield Park "might not be adequately represented' if Horne defends the case.

Horne said he has not decided whether he will allow others to take the lead in defending the law. But he has been reticent to be at the fore in defending other recent legally questionable changes in abortion laws that have wound up in court.

He let Montgomery defend a ban on abortion at 20 weeks, a move struck down by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. And the Alliance Defending Freedom, a privately financed anti-abortion group, is defending a law allowing Arizona to cut Medicaid family planning funds to Planned Parenthood because that organization also offers privately funded abortions, a contention already rejected by a trial judge.

The 2011 law makes it a felony, punishable by up to 7 years in prison, for a doctor to perform an abortion "knowing that the abortion is sought based on the sex or race of the child or the race of the parent of that child.' Challengers, including the NAACP and the National Asian Pacific Women's Forum, contend the law, believed to be unique in the country, is an unconstitutional infringement on the right of minority women to terminate their pregnancy without being questioned about the reason why.

Montgomery and attorney Casey Mattox say of the ADF the law is "race and gender neutral' and does not violate constitutional equal protection provisions. They also said lawmakers "have the right and the duty to enact laws that protect all citizens, born and unborn, from invidious discrimination based on race or gender.'

But to make that case in court, they first must convince a judge they should be allowed to defend the law.

Montgomery said allowing him to intervene in the case for Maricopa County residents will allow him to "protect and preserve a statute pass for their protection.' He said that, as the person who would be prosecuting doctors who violate the law, his approach to defending the law "is sometimes different' than Horne who does not have that role.

And Mattox said there is a "difference of interests' between Horne, representing the state, and what he and Montgomery believe is the best way to do that.

He said Horne might simply try to defend the law as a permissible state regulation of abortion. That would require addressing the fact that courts, since the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, have said women have an absolute right to terminate a pregnancy prior to viability of the fetus without providing a reason.

But Mattox said there are broader issues, including the motives of Montenegro is sponsoring the measure and why the Frederick Douglass Foundation, an anti-abortion group he also represents, supports the law. Mattox noted that the challengers are making that an issue.

For example, Monica Ennis, past president of the Arizona Black Nurses Association and member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, called it "an insult to the intelligence of African-American and Asian women.'

The lawsuit also says the purpose of the law is to reduce the rate or number of black and Asian women who have abortions, "but not women of any other race.' And it charges the law is "based on racist and discriminatory stereotypes' about both groups.

"The plaintiffs have made virtually their entire case that the motivations for this law were somehow less than honorable,' Mattox said. Mattox said that is of "great concern' to Montenegro and the Fredrick Douglass Foundation whose members "find themselves being told that a law that they advocated for because it would protect African-Americans from discrimination is somehow motivated by discriminatory ideas.'

In pushing the legislation in 2011, Montenegro said there was evidence that blacks have a higher abortion rate than other races. And he said those who perform such procedures are "the people behind genocides.'

He also cited evidence, much of it from Asian countries, that women there were far more likely to abort a female child than a male. That got extrapolated to questions about the practices of Asian women in Arizona even though there was no evidence presented linking abortions here to gender selection.

In the legal papers filed Monday, Montgomery and Mattox contend some of the statements attributed to Montenegro and other supporters were "incomplete, out-of-context and misrepresented' what actually occurred.

Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said when the lawsuit was filed black and Asian-American women have the right to make these decisions "without being cast as villains or as women who the state must monitor because they cannot be trusted to make this decision on their own.'

Montenegro called it "unfortunate' that others would see his legislation as racist, saying nothing in his legislation is based on the premise that women of any particular ethnic group are not intelligent enough to make their own decisions.

    Most Viewed     Recently Commented
•   Mingus recognized among America's best high schools (3358 views)

•   Blaze destroys RV and jeep Sunday; freeway traffic blocked (2852 views)

•   Horrors of human trafficking hit close to home in Verde Valley forum (with video) (2611 views)

•   Cottonwood gets first bee scare of spring season (2450 views)

•   New subdivision, 500 homes: Vineyards at Cottonwood coming soon (2342 views)

Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to Facebook character limits. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit excessive comment entries.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
HSE - Father Son Look a Like Contest
Find more about Weather in Cottonwood, AZ
Click for weather forecast

Submission Links
 •  Submit your feedback about our site

Find It Features Blogs Celebrate Submit Extras Other Publications Local Listings
Classifieds | Place Ad | Galleries | Kudos | Real Estate | Subscriber Services | e-News | RSS | Site Map | Find Verde Jobs | Contact Us
LB - Lamb Auto 0501 728x90

© Copyright 2016 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Verde Independent is the information source for Cottonwood and Verde Valley area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Western News&Info, Inc.® Verde News Online is a service of WNI. By using the Site, ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the Site's terms of use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the Site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Verde News Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved