Arizona judge rules state can impose near-total abortion ban

In ruling that a near-total ban on abortion in Arizona could go into effect, Pima County Supreme Court Justice Kelly Johnson approved a request by the state’s Republican attorney general to overturn an injunction blocking enforcement of the abortion ban in Arizona following the Supreme Court’s decision. The court ruled in Roe v. Wade in 1973.

“The court finds that since the legal basis for the 1973 ruling has now been overturned, it must set aside the entire ruling,” Johnson wrote in Friday’s ruling.

The case has pushed the issue of how abortion law should be restricted in Arizona, a swing state President Joe Biden It got less than 11,000 votes. It’s a contentious topic that has divided Arizona Republicans, and it reflects a fierce nationwide debate in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in late June, with several GOP-led states passing. increasingly restrictive measures That would alienate moderate voters.

The judge’s ruling effectively bans all abortions in Arizona except when the procedure is necessary to save the mother’s life. The decision came a day before a 15-week ban on abortion was introduced in Arizona. This law was passed by Arizona legislators prior to the US Supreme Court’s decision.

Abortion is prohibited or severely restricted in a number of countries.  This is where things stand
Conservative lawmakers in Arizona included language in bill banning abortion After 15 weeks It states that the new legislation will not override the 1901 law—which was passed before Arizona became a state and can be traced back to 1864. In addition to prohibiting abortion in all cases except when “it is necessary to save (the mother) life,” pre-state law holds Two to five years imprisonment for abortion providers.

While fighting the attorney general’s move to allow the abortion ban of 1901 to be enforced, abortion rights groups argued that if both laws went into effect, it would cause significant confusion for both abortion providers and women seeking care. But the judge said in her ruling that she was not considering how to settle the dispute between Arizona’s abortion laws.

“While there may be legal questions that the parties seek to resolve in relation to Arizona’s laws on abortion, those questions are not for this court to decide here,” Johnson wrote in the decision.

The ruling prompted a swift rebuke from several Democratic groups supporting abortion rights and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs, who said she was “outraged and devastated” by the decision.

“I have no doubt that this strict 1901 law will have dire consequences for the health and well-being of Arizona women and their families,” Hobbs said in a statement. “This harsh law effectively bans abortion in Arizona — with no exceptions for rape or incest — and risks a woman’s basic freedom to make her own health care decisions. … To make matters worse, this law imposes prison terms for abortion providers. Medical professionals will now have to to think twice and contact their attorney before providing the necessary, often life-saving care to patients.”

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who led the legal process to try to reimpose the state’s abortion ban after the Supreme Court Beat Raw against Wade In late June, he wrote on Twitter that he was pleased with the decision:

“We commend the Court for supporting the will of the Legislature and for providing clarity and uniformity on this important issue. I have and will continue to protect Arizona’s most vulnerable people,” he wrote on Twitter.

The row over Arizona’s abortion laws created a confusing legal landscape in Arizona for much of the summer, set against a backdrop of shifting national political mood ahead of the November midterm elections. While both historical trends and the nation’s bad mood about inflation initially seemed to favor Republicans in their quest for control of the US House and Senate in November, the Supreme Court’s decision on abortion galvanized women voters across the country — a dynamic. This led to a surprise victory for abortion rights supporters in Kansas and a better-than-expected performance for Democrats in the US House of Representatives special elections since Dobbs.

The ruling is injecting new uncertainty into statewide marquee races. Republicans, who need a net gain of just one seat to overturn the Senate, are trying to unseat Democratic Senator Mark Kelly as he is running for a full six-year term. Democrats are trying to overturn the governor’s mansion, which is currently controlled by Republican incumbent Governor Doug Ducey.

In the Arizona governor’s race, Hobbs portrayed GOP opponent Carrie Lake as an “extremist” on abortion. Lake has repeatedly said she opposes the measure, and in an August press conference she said she would “abide by the laws that are on the books.” But she did not specify which laws she intended. She said, “If people don’t like the laws in the books, they should elect representatives who change the laws. I’m running for governor, not for God. So I can’t write the laws.” .

Her campaign did not respond to CNN’s requests to clarify its view on the pre-state law.

Both Lake and the Republican Senate candidate, Blake Masters, who is challenging Kelly, have argued that their Democratic opponents have adopted positions too far from the mainstream in favor of abortion rights.

gentlemen The language has been removed from his campaign website They voiced support for the “Federal Personality Act” and other conservative anti-abortion positions after winning the Republican nomination last month. His campaign told CNN that the master’s program supports South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham’s proposal to a federal ban on abortion at week 15, which would provide exceptions to protect the mother’s life and in cases of rape or incest.

But prior to the ruling, Masters’ campaign had not responded to questions about his position on pre-state law or the court case to enforce it.

In a statement on Friday, Kelly said the decision would have a “devastating effect on the freedom Arizona women have enjoyed for decades: to choose an abortion if they need it. Let’s be clear, that’s exactly what Blake Masters wants, to ban abortions altogether. In Arizona and across country—even without exceptions for rape or incest. I will never stop fighting to restore these rights to Arizona women.”

Planned Parenthood of America fought Brnovich’s move in the Pima County Superior Court — the court that handled the 1973 order.

The group’s attorneys argued that the court had a duty to “harmonize all of Arizona’s legislatures as they exist today.” In the post-Dobbs era, the group argued that the pre-state law could “be enforceable in some ways” but should not apply to abortions performed by licensed physicians – instead that the ban should apply to anyone other than a licensed physician He tries to provide abortion services.

In a statement, Brittany Fonteno, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Arizona, said Friday’s ruling “has the practical and unfortunate consequence of setting Arizona residents back nearly 150 years. No old law should dictate our reproductive freedom and how we live our lives.” today.”

This story was updated with additional details on Friday.

CNN’s Paradise Afshar contributed to this report.

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