An Arizona judge will rule on a law that will ban nearly all abortions in the state



CNN

An Arizona Supreme Court judge could rule on Tuesday whether the state’s 1901 ban on nearly all abortions can be upheld, a court case that has created confusion over Arizona’s existing law and could embolden more women voters to participate. Numbers contested in state US Senate and gubernatorial races.

The case, which will see an appeal either way, examines how restrictive abortion laws should be in Arizona, a swing state that President Joe Biden carried by less than 11,000 votes. It’s a controversial issue that has divided Arizona Republicans and the US Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. It’s a reflection of the nationwide debate over Wade’s impeachment, as many GOP-led states have adopted increasingly repressive measures to alienate moderate voters.

Earlier this year, ahead of the US Supreme Court’s decision, the Arizona Legislature passed a law outlawing abortion after 15 weeks, signed by Republican Governor Doug Ducey and set to take effect on September 24. But conservative Arizona lawmakers inserted the language. that the new legislation would not override the 1901 law – which was passed before Arizona became a state and can be traced back to 1864 – which prohibits abortion in all cases “except when necessary to save (the mother’s) life”. it entails punishment for those who provide abortion.

The former law was blocked by a Pima County Superior Court bench after the 1973 Roe decision. But after the Supreme Court overturned Roe in June, Arizona’s Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced he would enforce the state’s previous abortion ban. .

He asked the Pima County Superior Court to vacate the order, arguing that the court should provide “clarity and uniformity to our state.” Brnovich’s position, which he took in the race for the GOP nod to the U.S. Senate, conflicts with that of the Republican governor, who has said a 15-week ban should be a priority.

Arizona’s tumultuous legal landscape has unfolded against the backdrop of a shifting national political landscape ahead of the November term. Historical trends and the nation’s sour mood on inflation initially appeared in favor of Republicans in their bid to control the US House and Senate this November, the Supreme Court’s decision on abortion has strengthened female voters across the country – this dynamic. The surprising victory for abortion rights advocates in Kansas and better-than-expected Democrats in the special election for the US House followed the Dobbs ruling.

Arizona’s bipartisan political consultants acknowledge that the surprise over what the state’s law will become has caused uncertainty in statewide races. Republicans, who need a clean one-seat win to flip the Senate, are trying to unseat Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly while he serves his full six-year term. And Democrats are trying to flip the governor’s mansion, currently held by the term-limited Ducey.

Even a slightly higher Democratic turnout could be key in races that could be decided by the margins. A recent Wall Street Journal poll found 57 percent of voters opposed the ban at 15 weeks with only an exception for maternal health.

In the Arizona governor’s race, Democrat Katie Hobbs has tried to paint her GOP opponent Kari Lake as an “extremist” on abortion. Lake has repeatedly said he opposes the procedure and said at a press conference in August that he would “maintain the laws that are on the books.” But he did not specify which law he meant. “If people don’t like the laws on the books, then they have to elect representatives who will change the laws. I am running for governor, not for God. So I don’t write the laws,” he said.

His campaign did not respond to CNN’s request to clarify his view on the state’s previous law or whether he thinks Arizona’s new 15-week abortion ban is sufficient. Hobbs has said he will veto legislation that “endangers a woman’s right to her own body” and called for the state’s pre-abortion ban to be overturned by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Before Wade was overruled.

Lake and GOP Senate candidate Blake Masters, who is challenging Kelly, have argued that their Democratic opponents have taken positions outside mainstream pro-abortion rights positions.

But Masters removed language from his campaign website expressing support for a “federal personhood law” and other conservative anti-abortion positions after winning the GOP nomination last month. Her campaign told CNN that Masters supports South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham’s proposed federal ban on abortion at 15 weeks, which would protect the life of the mother and provide exceptions in cases of rape or incest. But Masters’ campaign did not respond to questions about his position on the state’s previous law or the court’s ability to enforce it.

Kelly, a supporter of abortion rights, told KTAR News in a recent interview that there could be restrictions “late in pregnancy,” but “we need to make sure women can get the health care they need if they’re seriously struggling.” situations”.

Planned Parenthood Arizona initially suspended abortion services in June after Dobbs v. After the Jackson Women’s Health Foundation Supreme Court ruling, she resumed care. But now he’s bracing for another potential stoppage if the judge decides the state’s previous law can be reinstated.

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America has been fighting Brnovich’s move in Pima County Superior Court – the court that administered the 1973 order – where it argued in a legal filing that “Arizona providers have been left to navigate inconsistent statements about the status of elected officials. law” and that Brnovich pushed to enforce the state’s previous law by “completely ignoring Arizona’s legal code, which currently includes dozens of laws that allow doctors to provide abortions.”

Planned Parenthood’s attorneys argued that the court had a duty to “harmonize all legislation of the Arizona Legislature as it currently stands.” In the post-Dobbs era, the group argued that the state’s previous law “may be enforceable in some respects,” but that it should not apply to abortions provided by licensed physicians, and instead that the ban should apply to anyone who is not licensed. a doctor who tries to provide abortion services.

“There are many laws passed by state legislatures over the past 50 years that clearly regulate abortion as a safe and legal medical procedure that can be performed by a licensed physician,” said Brittany Fonteno, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona. “The attorney general has not chosen one particular law and ignored every other law on the books.”

While the group does not support abortion restrictions nationally, Fonteno said their legal strategy in Arizona was driven by a recognition of what he described as “feasible” in the post-Dobbs era, given Republican control of the Arizona statehouse. The state court system, which has been stacked with anti-abortion judges.’

Brnovich’s office did not respond to CNN’s multiple requests to discuss his arguments in the case and what the legal landscape would look like if the judge allows the state’s previous ban to go into effect just days before Arizona becomes a 15-week abortion ban. law.