A judge in Pima County ruled Friday that the pre-statehood ban on most abortions in Arizona will take effect after the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturned Roe v. Wade.
Send the news: Judge Kellie Johnson ruled that years of subsequent abortion restrictions less lenient than the territorial era ban do not negate this.
- Attorney General Mark Brnovich urged Johnson to reinstate the law passed in 1973 in response to Roe.
- Planned Parenthood Arizona argued that other more lenient laws passed since then should take effect in lieu of the pre-Roe ban.
Why it matters: A law banning all abortions other than those necessary to save the mother’s life is now in effect.
Situation: Lawmakers this year passed a ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, which is due to come into effect on Saturday.
Yes but: The legislation emphasized that the pre-Roe ban will not be repealed.
Of interest: Lawmakers repealed part of the law that made it a crime for a woman to seek or have an abortion in 2021, leaving only the part that criminalizes people who perform abortions.
What they say: Brnovich announced the ruling on Twitter and applauded the ruling.
- “We applaud the court for upholding the will of the legislature and providing clarity and uniformity on this important issue. I have and will continue to protect the most vulnerable Arizonans,” he said. tweeted.
Planned Parenthood Arizona rejected the ruling, which CEO Brittany Fonteno said would “deprive Arizonans of their right to live under a rule of law that respects our physical autonomy and reproductive decisions.”
- “Today’s ruling by the Pima County Supreme Court has the practical and unfortunate result of sending Arizonans back nearly 150 years. No archaic law should dictate our reproductive freedom and how we live our lives today,” Fonteno said.
In the meantime: CJ Karamargin, a spokesman for Governor Doug Ducey, insisted that the 15-week ban he signed earlier this year will still be the law of the country when new legislation goes into effect on Saturday.
- “Governor Ducey was proud to sign SB1164, which takes effect tomorrow. Arizona remains one of the most pro-life states in the country,” Karamargin told Axios.
Yes but: The judge explicitly wrote in its ruling that it would be inappropriate to “harmonize laws that do not exist” at the time of the original ban.
- Johnson noted that the lawmaker has repeatedly stressed that abortion laws were enacted after Roe failed to create a right to abortion in Arizona.
- She pointed out that language in the 15-week ban explicitly states that the law did not repeal the pre-Roe ban.
- Cathy Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy, who advocated the 15-week ban, wrote on Twitter that the abortion law is now back to its 1973 pre-Roe status — illegal except when necessary to save the mother’s life.
Reality check: Planned Parenthood Arizona will immediately suspend all abortion services in the state and will not perform abortions within the 15-week period, spokesman Andrew Feldman told Axios.
- Planned Parenthood Arizona attorneys are evaluating how the pre-Roe ban, the 15-week ban, and other abortion laws will interact after the warrant is lifted.
- Fonteno said the judge’s decision to lift the ban without clarifying how other abortion restrictions will interact with the territorial-era ban “has created chaos and confusion, and thousands of Arizonans take control of their reproductive lives and their ability to safe, legal abortion.”
What’s next: Johnson noted in her ruling that there are likely other legal questions to be answered regarding the future of abortion in the state.
It comes down to: Planned Parenthood did not say whether it will appeal the ruling, but Fonteno indicated the legal battle is not over, saying in a press release that “this is not the end of the battle”.