Bill Montgomery Wants Lawyer for Unborn in Suit Challenging AZ's 20-Week Abortion Ban; Judge Denies His Request
Bill Montgomery, Maricopa County Attorney, wants a lawyer for the unborn in a lawsuit targeting a state law that bans most late-term abortions.
The Republican politician filed a motion in federal court yesterday in which he asked that a lawyer be appointed in the case "to protect the rights of unborn children to their right to life and to be protected from unnecessary pain, etc."
U.S. District Judge James Teilborg wasted no time in turning down Montgomery's request, filing an order today that says the county attorney should have proposed the name of a pro-bono lawyer to undertake the representation of the unborn.
The judge added that someone who isn't a party to the case could always file a separate brief "of a particular issue or issues (whether it be on behalf of the unborn or the parents)."
Montgomery's office declined comment.
The lawsuit by three doctors seeks to block a state law, scheduled to take effect on August 2, that bans most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The American Civil Liberties Union, the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, and a group of Phoenix and Los Angeles lawyers are representing the plaintiffs. Montgomery is one of the named defendants, along with Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne and Lisa Wynn, executive director of the Arizona Medical Board.
Dan Pochoda, an attorney with the ACLU Arizona, called Montgomery's motion "stupid," and noted that Teilborg shot it down before the plaintiffs even needed to file a response.
"I assume (Montgomery) is grandstanding," Pochoda says.
Of course, with Montgomery running for another term in 2012, the motion may not have been "stupid" from a political point of view.
The anti-medical-marijuana, anti-stripper, anti-porn, pro-Sheriff Arpaio prosecutor appears bent on making himself a local champion of social conservatism.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.