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Justice Montgomery recuses self from upcoming AZ Supreme Court abortion case

In less than two weeks, Arizona’s Supreme Court is set to consider whether abortion can remain legal up to 15 weeks in the state or if a near-total ban should take effect. Now, one of the seven justices on the bench says he will not participate in the case. 

Planned Parenthood Arizona, the state's largest abortion provider, is a party in the upcoming case. But Justice Bill Montgomery made multiple public statements about the organization before he was appointed to the bench. In a 2017 Facebook post, Montgomery wrote that Planned Parenthood is responsible for “generational genocide.” He also participated in a 2015 protest outside the organization's Arizona headquarters. 

Attorneys for Planned Parenthood in October had asked Montgomery to recuse himselffrom the case. In their motion for recusal, they argued that Montgomery's public statements are examples of prejudice against their organization. They argued that should disqualify Montgomery from hearing the case.

Montgomery initially denied the request, saying he could remain impartial. But in a new filing Thursday, Montgomery said additional information came to his attention, warranting that he change his mind. He did not provide further explanation.

Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for Dec. 12. 

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Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent reporting on a variety of issues, including public health and climate change.