Skip to main content

Isaacson v. Mayes

Description:  Two abortionists and three organizations who oppose legal protections for Down syndrome babies filed a lawsuit seeking to have SB 1457, the Arizona law containing those protections, struck down.

Arizona state capitol
Thursday, Mar 9, 2023

PHOENIX – A federal district court issued an order Wednesday that allows the president of the Arizona State Senate and the speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives to intervene in defense of a state law that prevents children from being aborted simply for having a disability. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing Speaker Ben Toma and President Warren Petersen last month asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona to allow them to enter the case so that they can defend the law.

Two abortionists and three organizations who oppose the protections for babies with genetic abnormalities filed a lawsuit, Isaacson v. Mayes, seeking to have SB 1457, the law containing those protections, struck down.

“Every unborn life is valuable, precious, and worthy of protection,” said ADF Senior Counsel Denise Harle, director of the ADF Center for Life. “Among other things, this law ensures that babies, including those with Down syndrome, are not targeted for death because of their genetic makeup. While common sense says that this law deserves everyone’s support, abortionists and others with a vested interest in seeing such abortions continue have sued to tear it down. We’re pleased the court has allowed Speaker Toma and President Petersen to defend this life-saving law.”

Since 2011, the state of Arizona has prohibited individuals from “perform[ing] an abortion knowing that the abortion is sought based on the sex or race of the child or the race of a parent of that child.” In 2021, Arizona added to its protections against discriminatory abortions by including a prohibition against abortions based on genetic abnormalities, such as Down syndrome.

  • Pronunciation guide: Harle (HAR’-lee)

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

# # #

Previous News Releases

Legal Documents

Related Resources

ABOUT Denise Harle

Denise Harle serves as senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, where she is the director of the Center for Life. Prior to joining ADF, Harle served as deputy solicitor general in the Office of the Florida Attorney General, where she drafted appellate briefs and presented oral arguments on behalf of the state in a wide variety of constitutional cases, including defending the constitutionality of pro-life laws. In 2017, she participated in the prestigious Supreme Court Fellow program, sponsored by the National Association of Attorneys General. She clerked for Justice Ricky L. Polston on the Florida Supreme Court and worked for several years as an appellate litigator at a large firm in California. Harle earned bachelor’s degrees, summa cum laude, in psychology and interdisciplinary social science from Florida State University, a master’s degree in political science from Stanford University, and a Juris Doctor from Duke University School of Law. At Duke, she served as the executive editor of Law & Contemporary Problems. A member of the state bars of California, Florida, and Georgia, she is admitted to multiple federal district and appellate courts, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court.