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Backers of Arizona abortion rights amendment sue over language in voter pamphlet

Jul 11, 2024

Arizona [US], July 11: Supporters of a ballot measure that would amend Arizona's constitution to establish a right to abortion sued Republican lawmakers on Wednesday over language in a pamphlet to be distributed to voters before they go to the polls in November, saying the document's use of the phrase "unborn human" is not neutral.
Arizona for Abortion Access, the group behind the ballot measure, in its lawsuit, opens new tab asked the Maricopa County Superior Court for an order requiring the Arizona Legislative Council, a committee of lawmakers overseeing the pamphlet, to adopt "impartial" language.
The group said "fetus" would be "a neutral, objective, and medically accurate term uniformly used by medical professionals and government agencies."
The summary in the pamphlet, which is required by law and was approved by the Republican-majority council, states that current law prohibits abortion "if the probable gestational age of the unborn human being is more than 15 weeks," except in certain emergencies.
It goes on to say that the amendment would create a right to abortion up to the point of fetal viability.
The language in the pamphlet echoes the current law, which also uses the term "unborn human." The ballot measure itself does not use the term.
Arizona for Abortion Access argues that state law does not require the language of laws themselves to be neutral, while it does require the pamphlet summary to be neutral.
"We believe the Legislative Council drafted an unbiased description that accurately reflects the measure," Arizona Senate President Warren Petersen, who sits on the legislative council and is named as a defendant, said in a statement. "We are confident that we will prevail."
Arizona is one of several states where voters are expected to consider abortion rights measures in November, with others including Florida and Nevada.
Arizona lawmakers in May repealed a near-total abortion ban from 1864, with some Republicans in both legislative chambers joining Democrats to do so, leaving the 15-week ban passed in 2022 as the law of the state.
The move came after the Arizona Supreme Court in April ruled that prosecutors could enforce the Civil War-era ban, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's 2022 ruling eliminating the nationwide right to abortion that it had recognized since its landmark Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973.
Source: Fijian Broadcasting Corporation