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Arizona Judge Reinstates Pre-Roe Abortion Ban

Arizona §13-3603, a statute that originally was passed in 1864 and subsequently reenacted, criminalizes abortion unless it is necessary to save the life of the mother. Persons who procure of perform abortions are subject to imprisonment for not less than two or more than five years. In 1973, in a suit brought by Planned Parenthood, Arizona courts held that the statute was unconstitutional because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade.  Now that Roe has been overruled, Arizona’s Attorney General and an intervenor in the case filed a Motion for Relief From the 1973 Judgment.  In Planned Parenthood Center of Tucson, Inc. v. Brnovich, (AZ Super., Sept. 22, 2022), an Arizona trial court judge granted the motion, saying in part:

The Court finds that because the legal basis for the judgment entered in 1973 has now been overruled, it must vacate the judgment in its entirety.

In March of this year, Arizona enacted a law banning abortions after 15 weeks, except in a medical emergency. BBC News reporting on this week’s decision allowing §13-3603 to go into effect, says:

It is now unclear whether the 15-week ban or the near-total ban will take precedence.

Governor of Arizona Doug Ducey said it would be the 15-week ban, but his fellow Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich said it should be the older ban.

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