Judge Allows Arizona’s Near-Total Ban on Abortion to Take Effect

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An Arizona judge ruled Friday that the state can enforce a near-total ban on abortion that had been blocked for nearly five decades.

The 1901 law bans all abortions, except in cases in which the mother’s life is in jeopardy.

The ruling by Pima County Superior Court judge Kellie Johnson comes in response to a request from state attorney general Mark Brnovich to lift the long-standing injunction that prevented the law from taking effect.

Johnson wrote that a judgement and injunction signed in 1973 blocking the law, ARS 13-3603, “no longer has any prospective application.”

“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,” the ruling said.

The ruling comes three months after the Supreme Court first overturned Roe v. Wade, returning the question of abortion back to the states.

Brnovich responded to the ruling in a statement on Friday evening saying: “We applaud the court for upholding the will of the legislature and providing clarity and uniformity on this important issue.

“I have and will continue to protect the most vulnerable Arizonans,” he added.

The ruling comes one day before SB1164, a separate 15-week ban on abortion that was passed by state lawmakers in March, was set to take effect.

Brnovich said in June, days after the Supreme Court overturned Roe, that his office had “concluded the Arizona Legislature has made its intentions clear regarding abortion laws.”

“ARS 13-3603 is back in effect and will not be repealed in 90 days by SB1164,” he wrote.

Planned Parenthood and its Arizona affiliate had asked Judge Johnson not to allow the pre-statehood law to take effect and to instead allow more recently passed abortion restrictions to stand.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey had also argued that the 15-week ban should take precedence over the 1901 near-total ban.

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