Ducey joined ten other Republican governors across the nation in signing an amicus brief that was filed today with the Supreme Court in the high-profile abortion case out of Mississippi involving a law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. In their brief, the governors urged the court to "overrule" Roe v. Wade.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who is currently running for U.S. Senate, also signed onto a different brief filed today by attorneys general from various states that called for the court to overrule Roe v. Wade.
The Supreme Court, now stacked with conservative justices, has agreed to hear the case after lower courts initially shot down the law. The case is widely considered to be a challenge to Roe v. Wade; Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch recently called on the court to overturn Roe v. Wade.
In the 1973 Roe v. Wade, the Supreme court ruled that excessive state restrictions on abortion are unconstitutional and violate the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Pro-choice advocates argue that abortion access would be severely restricted in specific regions of the country — including Arizona — if Roe v. Wade were overturned or weakened.
In the amicus brief that Ducey signed, the governors call on the Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade and another significant abortion case ruling from 1992, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, which reaffirmed Roe v. Wade. They argue in the brief that Roe v. Wade "upset the constitutional balance between States and the Federal Government" and that there is no constitutional right to an abortion.
"The Fourteenth Amendment does not include the right to terminate the life of an unborn child," the brief states. "The misapplication of the Fourteenth Amendment in Roe and Casey is, to be sure, reason enough to overrule those decisions and return to the original understanding of the Fourteenth Amendment."
"The Court should take this opportunity to correct the mistakes in its abortion jurisprudence and recognize that the text and original understanding of the Fourteenth Amendment have nothing to do with abortion," the brief goes on to state. "Rather than creating a federal constitutional right, the Court should leave regulating abortion to the States."
The brief also called on the Supreme Court to "reverse" the lower court's decision to strike down Mississippi's abortion law.
In the brief signed by Brnovich, the attorneys general made similar arguments. That one states that the Mississippi 15-week abortion law cases "presents the Court with an opportunity" to strike down Roe and Casey and that the rulings "created and preserved a nonexistent constitutional right."
"The time has come to return the question of abortion to where it belongs — with the States," the brief says. "The Court should overrule Roe and Casey."
Katie Conner, a spokesperson for Brnovich, did not immediately respond to Phoenix New Times' request for comment.
In a statement that was released today, Ducey defended his support of overturning Roe v. Wade.
“The Constitution preserves the rights of the states by specifically enumerating the authority granted to the federal government. Unfortunately, almost 50 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to ignore the Constitution and created policy which has led to the over-politicization of this issue for decades," Ducey said. "Every single life has immeasurable value. That includes children who are preborn — and I believe it’s each state’s responsibility to protect them. It is time for the U.S. Supreme Court to fix their mistake and return this authority to the individual states as the democratic process intends. I’m proud to sign onto this brief to reaffirm Arizona’s commitment to protecting families and preborn children.”
Ducey's move to sign on to the amicus brief prompted fierce criticism from pro-choice advocates. Whitney Walker, the vice president of public policy, advocacy, and communication at Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, slammed Ducey in a statement issued today.
“Governor Ducey just said the quiet part out loud. His goal is to overturn Roe v Wade and ban access to safe, legal abortion in Arizona," she said. "Instead of focusing on the rising COVID-19 case numbers or educating the public to get vaccinated, Gov. Ducey is concerned with denying access to essential health care to the state’s residents, all in the middle of a global pandemic. This is not what Arizonans want — a majority of whom support safe, legal abortion. Ducey needs to stop playing politics and start doing what is right for Arizona.”
"Every Arizonan should be horrified that today, Governor Doug Ducey told the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade and called for an end to legal abortion in the United States," Caroline Mello Roberson, the southwest regional director for NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in a statement provided to Phoenix New Times. "Fortunately for Arizonans, Governor Ducey is termed out in 2022 and voters will have the opportunity to elect a new governor who supports reproductive freedom."
Arizona state Representative Athena Salman, a Democrat, wrote on Twitter that Ducey's move is "patronizing, sexist, and extreme."
Earlier this year, Ducey signed a highly controversial law, Senate Bill 1457, that criminalized some abortions and threatens abortion doctors with jail time. That bill, like the Mississippi abortion law, was also criticized as an attempt to challenge Roe v. Wade by attracting lawsuits and getting an abortion case before the Supreme Court.
🚨Lame Duck Ducey, who never has given birth & will never need an abortion, signed onto an amicus brief asking #SCOTUS to overturn #RoeVWade, effectively ending abortioncare access to millions of women across the country.— Rep. Athena Salman (@AthenaSalman) July 29, 2021
This is patronizing, sexist, and extreme. #HandsOffAZ pic.twitter.com/vP8p2schqG
Read the full amicus brief that was signed by Ducey below: