An Arizona appeals court has temporarily overturned the state’s 150-year-old abortion prohibition, reinstating access.
After a court earlier determined that the state’s more-than-a-century-old abortion ban may be implemented, the Arizona Court of Appeals has temporarily stopped its enforcement.
A three-judge panel of the appeals court ruled on Friday that a judge erred in lifting an injunction against the law, which prohibits abortion except in cases where the pregnant woman’s life is in danger, without taking into account other laws limiting abortion access enacted by the state since the injunction was imposed nearly 50 years ago.
While the lawsuit is being heard, the ruling enables abortions to resume in the state.
Before Arizona became a state, the abortion prohibition was imposed in the 1860s. The statute remained in effect until 1973, when the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling enabled national abortion access. Following the verdict, an injunction against the prohibition was issued.
After the Supreme Court’s June judgement in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which reversed Roe, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) attempted to authorise enforcement of the legislation.
However, Arizona’s legislature has established several less stringent prohibitions since Roe, including a 15-week ban supported by Gov. Doug Ducey (R), who signed that measure into law before the Dobbs decision.
Planned Parenthood of Arizona claimed that later legislation should take precedence over the whole prohibition, but a state judge concluded that Roe was the sole reason the injunction was in place, allowing the statute to be implemented.
According to the appeals court panel, Planned Parenthood’s claim that additional legislation should be considered has a “substantial possibility of success.”
The judgement declares that “Arizona courts have an obligation to seek to reconcile all of this state’s applicable legislation.” “The court further determines that the balance of burdens weighs heavily in favour of granting the stay, considering the urgent need for legal clarification regarding the implementation of our criminal laws among healthcare practitioners, prosecuting authorities, and the public.”
On Tuesday, pro-abortion rights groups filed a lawsuit asking a state court to clarify the state’s various legislation governing abortion access. Both the near-total prohibition and the 15-week restriction were formally in place.
Since the Dobbs decision, more than a dozen states have tried to limit abortions through trigger bans and other legislation, although bans in numerous states have been blocked