Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has agreed not to enforce a near total ban on abortions until at least 2023 after his office reached an agreement with Planned Parenthood in response to an appeals court ruling earlier this month blocking the enforcement of a 158-year-old abortion ban, Bloomberg Law reported.
Planned Parenthood on Thursday said services would resume statewide after an appeals court blocked enforcement of the 1864 law Oct. 7. A lower court had allowed enforcement of that law Sept. 23, halting all abortions statewide.
"While we are celebrating today, we can't ignore that we are still on a long and uncertain path to restoring the fundamental right to abortion in Arizona, and making this essential healthcare truly accessible and equitable for all people," Brittany Fonteno, who heads Planned Parenthood Arizona, said at a news conference. "While abortion is currently legal in Arizona and we have resumed abortion care throughout the state, we know that this could very well be temporary."
The only exception to the law is if the mother's life is in jeopardy. The pre-statehood abortion ban law had been blocked since Roe was decided in 1973, but Brnovich, a Republican, asked a court in Tucson to allow it to be enforced this summer. The law dating to 1864 carries a prison sentence of two to five years.
After the judge in Tucson agreed with Brnovich, the court of appeals temporarily overrode her and set a schedule for Planned Parenthood and the Arizona attorney general's office lawyers to file their legal briefs in the appeal. Those documents are due by a Nov. 17 deadline.
Meanwhile, a Phoenix physician who runs a clinic that provides abortions, and the Arizona Medical Association filed a separate lawsuit that sought to block the territorial-era law, arguing that laws enacted by the legislature after 1973's Roe v. Wade decision should take precedence and abortions should be allowed until 15 weeks into a pregnancy.
The lawsuit filed by a Phoenix abortion doctor and the Arizona Medical Association repeated many of the arguments made by Planned Parenthood in their failed effort last month to persuade the Tucson judge to keep in place a 50-year-old injunction barring enforcement of the old law. The judge said it was not procedurally proper for her to try to reconcile 50 years of later law with the old law.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.