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  • Writer's pictureArizona House Democrats

Rep. Longdon and Other Disability Rights Advocates File Amicus Brief Opposing Extreme AZ Abortion Ba

PHOENIX – House Assistant Democratic Leader Jennifer Longdon consulted on and signed an amicus brief filed late Monday by multiple disability rights organizations and advocates to uphold a federal court injunction on portions of Arizona's extreme abortion ban, Senate Bill 1457. The brief argues that the bill's "Reason Scheme" – which criminalizes abortion if the provider performs an abortion because of a genetic abnormality – will unlawfully curtail reproductive rights and harm people with disabilities. In September, an Arizona federal judge blocked some provisions of SB1457, including the Reason Scheme, from going into effect. The amicus brief filed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is attached or can be found here. Longdon, who was paralyzed in a random drive-by shooting in 2004, has worked throughout Arizona and the nation to raise awareness and improve the lives of people living with disabilities.

"I'm proud to join some of the nation's most powerful voices for the rights of people living with disabilities in this amicus brief to uphold the District Court's preliminary injunction of Senate Bill 1457's Reason Scheme," said Longdon, D-Phoenix. "The use of people with disabilities as a wedge to dismantle reproductive rights is cynical and wrong. Worse, the Reason Scheme helps no one living with a disability and, in fact, does real harm. Despite massive budget surpluses, the Arizona Legislature underfunds services for people with disabilities by $150 million a year, and education programs for students with disabilities in our K-12 public schools by $100 million a year. If the radical right truly cared about the wellbeing of people living with disabilities, the elected officials they support would put their money where their mouth is."

As the brief outlines, SB1457 "undermines its purported anti-discrimination purpose by stifling open communication between health care providers and pregnant patients about parenting children with disabilities. Its criminal penalties force providers to ignore patients’ questions regarding fetal testing and diagnoses and require patients to stay silent about their questions or concerns about disability, or even lie out of fear that they will be denied access to reproductive care if they speak honestly. This forced silence hinders the ability of providers to share accurate information about raising a child with a disability, leaving pregnant people to make their decisions based on information they may obtain from outside the physician-patient relationship, which may well be inaccurate and based on stereotype. By

increasing the likelihood that pregnant people who receive a fetal diagnosis will fall back on harmful stereotypes and misinformation in deciding whether to continue their pregnancy, the law further burdens and stigmatizes people with disabilities."


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