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Civil Rights Groups Seek Blockage of Arizona Abortion Law

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Civil rights groups asked a federal appeals court Monday to let them try to block a state abortion law because of why they say it was approved. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer explains.

The 2011 law makes it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion knowing the purpose is to choose the gender or race of the child. Last year, the NAACP and an Asian-American women’s group sued. But, a trial judge said they have no legal standing, as they represent neither a woman denied an abortion or a doctor who faces charges.

Now Alexa Kolbi-Molinas of the American Civil Liberties Union wants the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate the case. She said statements by proponents when the measure was approved proves it was motivated by stereotypes and racial animus.

“The state in no way questions or challenges that any of this sort of rhetoric was used in the legislative history or that it is offensive and stigmatizing and stereotyping of the plaintiffs. And that’s what plaintiffs need to show at this point in order to show standing,” Kolbi-Molinas said.

That rhetoric includes statements by Rep. Steve Montenegro, the bill’s sponsor, that those who perform abortions based on gender or race are “the people behind genocides.” He also said the abortion industry targets certain communities, citing a higher rate of abortion among minorities. And, Montenegro said women in Asian countries, preferring boys, will abort girls, though there was no testimony any of that is happening in Arizona.

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