An Arizona judge has blocked parts of a new law that criminalizes performing abortions due to fetal genetic anomalies, the Associated Press reports.
Governor Doug Ducey signed the bill, which also confers civil rights upon fetuses, in April. Under it, healthcare workers who performed abortions knowing that a genetic anomaly was the reason for the termination could face jail time, though the bill has exceptions for fatal genetic conditions. A lawsuit brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights and other groups has argued that the bill is unconstitutional and amounts to a ban on abortion. The judge in the case, Douglas Rayes, questioned attorneys last week for more than two hours.
While Rayes did not agree the law was a ban, he did find that parts of it were vague, including the criminal provisions, and created hurdles to seeking an abortion, the Arizona Republic reports. He further found that a provision requiring doctors to tell patients that Arizona law does not allow abortions for genetic anomalies is "state-mandated misinformation" and would prevent individuals seeking terminations from doing so, it adds.
According to the AP, Rayes blocked the provisions that would have enabled prosecutors to bring charges against healthcare workers or anyone who helped pay for an abortion due to fetal genetic anomalies from going into effect.