The first round in defending Arizona's new abortion laws was fought in both federal and state courts today.
While the federal court issued a 23 page opinion denying the abortion industry's request for a preliminary injunction, the state court issued a short minute entry that effectively blocked the immediate implementation of many of the provisions contained in the new abortion laws.
At this point in time the good news is that the state ban on partial birth abortions has not been challenged and will now become law, along with new statutory provisions codifying the procedures a minor must follow in order to obtain a judicial bypass for an abortion.
The state court injunction, however, blocks implementation of important provisions that would prohibit non-physicians from performing surgical abortions as well as the enhancements to Arizona's rights of conscience statute that were initiated by the Arizona Catholic Conference.
It appears that the 24 hour waiting period requirement before a woman can obtain an abortion will still become effective, but the state court's preliminary injunction sets aside the provision that the woman actually sees a doctor 24 hours before the procedure and receives the informed consent orally and in person.
Additionally, the new parental consent language requiring notarized signatures was set aside until the Secretary of State can meet certain standards set out by the court.
Despite the setbacks today, the litigation surrounding Arizona's new abortion laws is far from over and will continue for years to come.  Accordingly, the Arizona Catholic Conference will continue to closely monitor these developments and take whatever actions are necessary to defend these important laws protecting women, children and the civil rights of health care workers.
We are especially grateful to the Alliance Defense Fund, the Center for Arizona Policy and the Bioethics Defense Fund for working very closely with us in these efforts and assisting us in our efforts to intervene in both cases.
As important developments occur, we will keep you posted.  In the meantime, your prayers and support are always appreciated.

Round One