Abortion rights groups slam Arizona court decision
Reproductive rights groups in Arizona are condemning last week’s court ruling allowing a pre-statehood abortion ban to go into effect that would effectively outlaw nearly all abortions. The law was blocked for five decades until the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade this summer.
Planned Parenthood Arizona calls the law “archaic” and says it strips away bodily autonomy and self-determination.
“Today’s ruling by the Pima county superior court has the practical and deplorable result of sending Arizonans back nearly 150 years. No archaic law should dictate our reproductive freedom and how we live our lives today. We know that today’s ruling does not reflect the will of the people, as Arizonans are overwhelmingly in favor of abortion access," said Planned Parenthood Arizona President and CEO Brittany Fonteno in a statement after Friday's decision.
Planned Parenthood on Monday asked a judge to put the ruling on hold. The group says the ruling that allows prosecutors to enforce Arizona’s Civil War-era law banning abortions in nearly all circumstances has created confusion due to several such restriction that are on the books in the state.
The statute can be traced to 1864 but was codified by the territorial legislature in 1901. Planned Parenthood had asked the court to harmonize dozens of Arizona laws restricting abortion, but the judge refused, allowing the near-total ban on the procedure to take precedence.
It had been blocked since the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision. But Pima County Superior Court Judge Kelli Johnson on Friday lifted the injunction allowing state and county prosecutors to enforce the law. Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who asked the court to lift the injunction, applauded the ruling. The law mandates a two-to-five-year prison sentence for those who provide abortions with an exception for saving the life of the pregnant person. There is no exception for rape or incest.
A separate 15-week ban passed earlier this year went into effect Saturday.