PHOENIX — Arizona taxpayers are on the hook for more than $2 million in legal costs stemming from a series of anti-abortion laws the state Legislature has passed over the last eight years.
These court-ordered payments were from five cases that the state has lost, settled or been nullified by legislative repeal and came despite lawmakers repeatedly being warned that the measures were on shaky ground, the Arizona Capitol Times reported on Friday.
Democratic lawmakers and abortion providers have often placed the blame for legislation targeting abortion access on the Center for Arizona Policy, which is a conservative policy group that has supported anti-abortion candidates and pushed Republican lawmakers to sponsor and vote for anti-abortion measures in the state.
Cathi Herrod, the center’s president, said the number of state anti-abortion policies still in effect outweigh the losses in court. The 37 policies she referred to range from a 2011 policy requiring women to receive an ultrasound before an abortion to a 2016 policy prohibiting the research, experimentation or trafficking of fetuses.
“You have to first look at what is in effect. And then you need to look at what the court cases were,” Herrod said. “And the question is, why does the abortion industry oppose women being given information about abortion pill reversal? Why does the abortion industry file lawsuits on some of these bills?”
Abortion providers, like Planned Parenthood, and Democratic legislators who have voted against Center for Arizona Policy-supported bills said the lawsuits are filed because the policies are unconstitutional and harmful.
Since 2009, Arizona has successfully defended two laws out of the six lawsuits filed against the state over Center for Arizona Policy-backed bills.
Jodi Liggett, vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of Arizona, said that lawmakers understand these bills are unconstitutional, which leaves her to question the motives of these lawmakers and of the policy group.
“Are we really trying to create good public policy? Is this really about — in particular, is this really about women’s health and safety?” Liggett said. “Or is this just about making it as hard as possible (to have an abortion), which is actually harmful to women’s health and safety?”