Arizona Attorney General: Pre-1901 Abortion Ban Enforceable

PHOENIX – Arizona’s Republican Attorney General announced Wednesday that a pre-state law banning all abortions is enforceable and that he will soon seek the lifting of an injunction that has blocked it for nearly 50 years.

Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s office said after the US Supreme Court overturned its 1973 ruling that abortion was a constitutional right, it was considering whether to enforce the old law.

His decision puts him at odds with Republican Gov. Doug Ducey. The governor, after signing new legislation banning abortions after 15 weeks in March, said it superseded the law that had been in place since at least 1901, 11 years before Arizona statehood.

But anti-abortion advocates who wrote the new law, and the Republican senator who sponsored it, Nancy Barto, argued that the old law could be enforced. They pointed to a specific provision that said it does not overrule this law.

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“Our office has concluded that lawmakers have made their intentions clear regarding abortion laws.” Brmovich said on Twitter. “ARS 13-3603 (the law before statehood) is back in force and will not be repealed” when the new law goes into effect in late September.

Ducey spokesman CJ Karamargin, the governor’s office reviewed Brnovich’s decision and had no immediate comment.

The old law said anyone who assists a pregnant woman with an abortion could be sentenced to two to five years in prison. The only exception is when the woman’s life is in danger.

Abortion clinics across Arizona had stopped offering the procedures within hours of last Friday’s Supreme Court ruling. They cited concerns that the old law could be enforced.

Brittany Forteno, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood, Arizona, explained the standstill in proceedings, saying the possibility of prosecution is simply too risky to continue offering abortion treatments. Other abortion providers followed suit.

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In addition to the total ban, a law is also being prepared that will grant all rights to eggs and fetuses. Abortion rights advocates are asking a judge who refused to block it last year because Roe v. Wade was in effect to reconsider his decision. That The judge blocked that law’s abortion ban because of a fetal genetic abnormality.

Following the Supreme Court decision, an estimated 7,000 to 8,000 pro-choice protesters gathered at the state Capitol, where the Legislature was concluding work on the annual session.

State police used tear gas to disperse the crowd after a small group of protesters began pounding on the glass front of the State Senate and one person attempted to kick in a sliding glass door. No arrests or injuries were reported Friday night, but the protests lasted two days and several people were arrested.

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Brnovich is among several Republicans vying for their party’s nomination to the US Senate in the Aug. 2 primary.

According to the latest report from the Arizona Department of Health Services, there were just over 13,000 abortions in Arizona in 2020. Of these, fewer than 650 were performed after 15 weeks of gestation.

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https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/06/29/arizona-attorney-general-pre-1901-abortion-ban-enforceable/ Arizona Attorney General: Pre-1901 Abortion Ban Enforceable

Sarah Y. Kim

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