US: Arizona can enforce near-total abortion ban, judge rules

US: Arizona can enforce near-total abortion ban, judge rules

A judge in the US state of Arizona has ruled that the state can enforce a near-total ban on abortions that has been blocked for about 50 years.

Pima County Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson on Friday granted a request by the state’s Republican attorney general, Mark Brnovich, to lift the court injunction barring enforcement of the ban, which was enacted decades before Arizona became a state in 1912.

The decision means that clinics across the southwestern state will have to stop providing the procedures to avoid the filing of criminal charges against doctors and other medical staff.

The only exception to the ban would be when the procedure is necessary to save the mother’s life.

Siding with Brnovich, Johnson said that because the injunction was filed in 1973 following the Roe v. Wade decision, it must be lifted in its entirety.

“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,” she said.

In June this year, the nation’s Supreme Court overturned the the right to abortion it had recognized in that landmark ruling.

Back to living under ‘archaic’ law, says Planned Parenthood

In the aftermath of the Roe v. Wade reversal, about half of the US states are expected to seek to restrict abortions or have already done so, triggering a flurry of litigation around the country.

“We applaud the court for upholding the will of the legislature and providing clarity and uniformity on this important issue,” Brnovich said in a statement after the verdict. 

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

Abortion-rights advocacy group Planned Parenthood had called on the judge not to allow enforcement.

The group’s president and CEO said that the ruling “takes Arizonans back to living under an archaic, 150-year-old law.”

“This decision is out of step with the will of Arizonans and will cruelly force pregnant people to leave their communities to access abortion,” said Alexis McGill Johnson.

dvv/aw (AP, Reuters)

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Last Update: Sat, 24 Sep 22 00:57:05