Project 2025 partner links Arizona court implementing near-total abortion ban to Trump

FRC president Tony Perkins to ADF counsel who argued in court for near-total abortion ban: “The court was simply doing essentially what president — former President Trump stated on Monday that this is a state's issue”

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Citation From the April 10, 2024, edition of Family Research Council's Washington Watch with Tony Perkins  

TONY PERKINS (FRC PRESIDENT): The Arizona Supreme Court put back in place a law previously on the books that protects unborn children from the moment of conception. Now in 2022, the Arizona state legislature passed a law that protects babies after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Well, yesterday's decision said that the 2022 law did not override the previously passed law to protect life. Now that law goes back to the 1800s, but this decision comes the same week as President Trump's statement on abortion and calls into the focus the role — it brings into focus, rather, the role that the issue of protecting life is going to play in the upcoming elections. But what actually happened in Arizona and what did not happen? A lot of focus, a lot of headlines, but let's talk about what really happened. Joining me now to discuss yesterday's decision is Jake Warner, senior counsel Alliance Defending Freedom, who successfully argued this case before the Arizona Supreme Court. Jake, welcome back to Washington Watch. Thanks so much for joining us.

JAKE WARNER (ADF): Thanks for having me on the show.

PERKINS: So let's talk about what this case, this decision did and did not do.

WARNER: Yeah. The Arizona Supreme Court affirmed that life is a human right. For over 100 years, Arizona law has protected life from the moment of conception. Roe v. Wade temporarily stopped that protection. But after the US Supreme Court issued its decision in Dobbs, it allowed states to once again fully protect life. And that's exactly what we believe Arizona law does. And thankfully, yesterday, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that the state can enforce its law that protects life from the moment of conception, and we celebrate that decision today.

PERKINS: So, Jake, just to be very clear here, the court didn't create this policy. This was policy already enacted by the Arizona legislature. Now it goes back, you know, over a hundred years. It was but it was on the books, and so it just said, hey, this, Roe v. Wade is removed. This law was still there. It's still valid. Is that an accurate assessment?

WARNER: It is, and it's and it's more than that too because over the past 100 years, the legislature has repeatedly affirmed its commitment to this law. Even after Roe v. Wade, the legislature reenacted the law, protecting life from the moment of conception. And as recently as 2022, when the legislature passed the 15 weeks law, it said that this 15 weeks law does not repeal Arizona's pro-life law. It creates no right to an abortion, and it makes no unlawful abortion legal. So Arizona has firmly made its commitment to abortion over the course of decades.

PERKINS: And if I'm not mistaken, there were several Arizona elected officials that were a party to supporting this court case.

WARNER: That's exactly right. For example, when Governor Ducey signed this case, he said that society will be judged by how it treats some of the most vulnerable among us. And when he signed the 15 weeks law, he said that in Arizona, we will continue our commitment to protecting life to the greatest extent possible, and that law did that by reaffirming the state's pro-life law that protects life from the moment of conception.

PERKINS: So, Jake, why are people now retreating from it? Why do we see people saying, oh, this goes too far? I mean, this is not something that the court created. The court was simply doing essentially what president — former President Trump stated on Monday that this is a state's issue. I disagree with that, but this is a state that is actually acting on the laws that were created by elected state representatives in that state.

WARNER: All elected officials should affirm that life is a human right, but especially those who come out and, present themselves as pro-life. This is the opportunity to stand up and say life is a human right, and we're proud to protect the most vulnerable among us. We want to defend unborn children from the moment of conception, and science has proved that these are actual children in the womb. For example, at 6 weeks, the child's heart begins to beat. At 8 weeks, they develop fingers and toes, and at 10 weeks, they have unique fingerprints. We're talking about human beings inside the womb.

PERKINS: So how do you what do you say to those that are saying this is judicial activism? This is the result of, you know, conservative justices on the courts. I mean, how do you respond to that?

WARNER: Quite the opposite. This is a perfect example of judicial modesty, a court interpreting the law as written. For over 100 years, Arizona law has fully protected human life from the moment of conception, and the Arizona Supreme Court was bold enough to say so. This is what the law is. We're not going to insert our views into the matter. That's for the people of Arizona to decide. And for 100 years, the Arizona people have repeatedly affirmed their commitment to protecting unborn children.

PERKINS: Yeah. I think you're absolutely right. That's exactly what it was, and that's what we want from judges. Allow the legislature, the elected policymakers to craft the policy. Now if they want to go back and change it, they can, but this is consistent with what they've been saying for years.