The newest addition to Arizona's highest court, former Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, said on Facebook that he believes Planned Parenthood "is responsible for the greatest generational genocide known to man" and that its business model "encourages the very behavior that leads to STDs and abortions."
Montgomery posted the comments in 2017 while still county attorney for the most populated county in the state. The comments are no longer visible since Montgomery locked down his Facebook privacy settings, but someone who took screenshots shared those posts with Phoenix New Times.
Montgomery is far from the only top Republican in Arizona with extremist views on Planned Parenthood. Earlier this week, New Times reported on a recent suggestion by Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers that Planned Parenthood supports comprehensive sex education because, he claims, it leads to more abortions and sexually transmitted diseases that help the group's bottom line.
Montgomery's initial comment claiming that Planned Parenthood's business model "requires abortions" and that "they put King Herod to shame" in terms of "genocide" came when he shared a video from an anti-abortion group called Live Action.
Montgomery is a former altar boy who speaks publicly of his commitment to Catholicism. He was referencing the historical king of Judea who the New Testament claims murdered infants in Bethlehem in an attempt to kill baby Jesus. Montgomery also said that Planned Parenthood "encourages the very behavior that leads to STDs and abortions. Their business model relies on it."
Arizona’s newest Supreme Court justice Bill Montgomery also believes ridiculous conspiracy theories about Planned Parenthood. That’s two out of three branches of Arizona government. Care to weigh in, @dougducey? pic.twitter.com/nPdvDAm1HQ— Analise Ortiz (@AnaliseOrtiz_AZ) September 17, 2019
Montgomery's unsubstantiated, biased remarks ignore the fact that abortion accounts for a small percentage of the services Planned Parenthood actually provides and likely less than half the revenue it takes in. He also appears to claim that Planned Parenthood encourages unsafe sex. In fact, Planned Parenthood provides millions of women each year with birth control, preventing women who do not wish to become pregnant from getting pregnant and seeking an abortion for an unwanted pregnancy.
Planned Parenthood also hands out condoms at its health centers and provides sexual education classes — the very thing Speaker Bowers is so against — both of which have been shown to decrease sexually transmitted diseases and reduce the risk of pregnancy.
Asked whether Montgomery still stands by his comments claiming Planned Parenthood is responsible for "the greatest generational genocide known to man," Aaron Nash, a spokesperson for the state Supreme Court told New Times, "Arizona Code of Judicial Conduct prohibits judges, including justices, from making public comments about matters that are or could be before the court.
"The role of every judge in Arizona is to uphold the law and constitution," Nash added. "Every judge is human, with beliefs and preferences. Their role as judges is to apply the law to the facts and their written opinions provide their legal reasoning. Like every newly appointed justice, Justice Montgomery’s legal reasoning as a justice is a blank slate that will be written over time."
Yet Montgomery's opinions on abortion are anything but a blank slate, and it's hard to believe, given his history of allowing his personal bias to cloud his professional judgment, that his strong opposition to abortion won't guide his thinking in future cases.
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In 2013, when the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Arizona's law banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy is unconstitutional, Montgomery, predictably, threw a fit and vowed to get the Supreme Court to "change precedent."
"If the 9th Circuit cannot permit Arizona to act because of Supreme Court precedent, then the Supreme Court must change that precedent," Montgomery said in a statement released at the time.
In 2015, Montgomery spoke at an anti-abortion rally outside Planned Parenthood, where he claimed that a since-debunked secretly filmed video of Planned Parenthood’s Director of Medical Services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola "irrefutably shows [that] Planned Parenthood kills children and sells their body parts."
A Congressional oversight committee found that the videos had been deceptively edited and intentionally omitted 10 instances in which Nucatola unequivocally stated that Planned Parenthood does not profit from tissue donations. The anti-abortion activist who filmed the videos, David Daleiden, is facing felony charges in California for violating privacy laws by filming people without permission. The trial began two weeks ago.