Two abortionists and three organizations who oppose the protections for Down syndrome babies filed a lawsuit, Isaacson v. Brnovich, seeking to have SB 1457 – the law containing those protections – struck down. The group Sharing Down Syndrome Arizona is asking the court to allow it to enter the case so that it can help defend the law.
"Arizona has long protected the unborn from sex and race discrimination," says attorney Denise Burke of Alliance Defending Freedom, the law firm representing Sharing Down Syndrome Arizona. "In this past legislative session, it simply added protections for people with disabilities to protect them from discrimination in the context of abortion. Arizona made the right call in stepping up and defending those who do not have a voice."
The attorney argues it's common sense to support a law like SB 1457 – but points out that those with "a vested interest" in seeing such abortions continue want to tear it down.
"We should all work to protect those who are often overlooked by society including the unborn and people with Down syndrome," adds Burke. "Down syndrome is the most common genetic birth abnormality or anomaly, occurring approximately once in every 691 births – and prenatal testing that shows that children may have Down syndrome is often used as a precursor to abort those children simply on the basis of their genetic makeup. We as a society should not tolerate that sort of discrimination."
It's not clear on when the court will rule on the nonprofit's motion to intervene as a defendant. Regardless, Burke says the overall case will have an impact beyond Arizona's borders.
"Arizona is one of about half a dozen states that have laws on the books prohibiting discrimination based on prenatal diagnosis such as Down syndrome," she says. "So, this case will have an impact on laws that already are on the books in other states and on states that are considering enacting similar measures."
Isaacson v. Brnovich is filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.