Arizona Court of Appeals Stops Enforcing Near-total Abortion Ban

An Arizona appeals court on Friday night halted enforcement of the state’s near-total abortion ban, upholding a lower court’s decision to reinstate an old law that only allowed the procedure if it needed to save a pregnant woman’s life.

The Arizona Court of Appeals order comes after reproductive health group Planned Parenthood Arizona appealed a September ruling by Pima County Superior Court Judge Kelly Johnson. The stay remains in effect until the appeals court can hear the appeal. Johnson lifted a decades-long ban on near-total restrictions rooted in an 1864 law that made no exceptions for victims of rape or incest and threatened abortion providers with sentences of up to five years in prison.

Justice Peter J. Eckerstrom, writing for the three appellate judges who issued the stay order, said the lower court may have erred in restoring the Civil War-era law because it has Conflicting laws that provide more leeway. A law allowing abortions for up to 15 weeks went into effect last month, conflicting with an 1864 ban. State Attorney General Mark Brnovich, right, who opposes abortion rights and says he plans to enforce the old law, has urged the court to clarify the issue.

Pima County Judge Johnson ruled that the old law, updated and codified in 1901, replaced the 15-week ban enacted this year. In her order, she said the state legislature had clearly enacted the 2022 law, so it would not “repeal” the old ban.

These states now ban abortion. See where the law has changed.

But three appeals judges said the legal challenge to the tougher ban by Planned Parenthood’s lawyers “demonstrates a good chance of success.”

“It is the responsibility of Arizona courts to attempt to harmonize all relevant statutes in the state,” Ekstrom wrote in a one-page order, adding that “there is an urgent need for [health care] Providers, prosecutors and the public for legal clarity” prompted the order.

Brittany Fonteno, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona, said in a statement that the stay brought “a temporary respite” to Arizonans.

“Planned Parenthood Arizona is committed to defending reproductive freedom for all and will continue this fight until this 150-year-old law is permanently repealed,” she said.

Brnovich’s spokeswoman, Brittney Thomason, said in a statement that her office “understands that this is an emotional issue, and we will carefully review the court’s decision before deciding on our next steps.” Court of Appeals Decisions on 19th-century injunctions can still be appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court.

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Reproductive rights have been changing in many states since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned it in June Roe v. Wade, which established a nationwide abortion right in 1973. While it has occasionally led to legal confusion, the reversal returns the decision to Congress and the states.Several states later fail to update their abortion laws roewhich means there may be conflicting regulations.

In Arizona, both Brnovich and abortion-rights activists recently called for a special session of the state legislature to address the confusion, according to the Arizona Republic.

In Ohio – another state that has restricted reproductive rights since the overthrow of the US government roe – A judge on Friday issued a preliminary injunction to a six-week abortion ban while hearing a constitutional challenge on the grounds of personal liberty. The procedure is now allowed up to the 22nd week of pregnancy.

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