Arizona appeals court reinstates injunction blocking abortion ban



The brief order written by Presiding Judge Peter J. Eckerstrom said Planned Parenthood and its Arizona affiliate had shown they are likely to prevail on an appeal of a decision by the judge in Tucson to allow enforcement of the old law. They said the judge should have considered a host of laws restricting abortions passed since the original injunction was put in place following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade that said women have a constitutional right to an abortion.

Those laws include a new one blocking abortions after 15 weeks’ pregnancy that took effect last month.

The Supreme Court overruled Roe in June, and Republican Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich then asked that the injunction blocking enforcement of the pre-statehood abortion be lifted. Pima Court Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson agreed on Sept. 23 and lifted the order two weeks ago.

Providers across the state stopped abortions after the U.S. Supreme Court decision, but many restarted procedures in mid-summer. That came after a federal judge blocked a separate “personhood” law they worried would allow criminal charges against doctors and nurses. They halted again after Johnson’s ruling.

The appeals court said the trial court erred by limiting its analysis only to the attorney general’s request to lift the injunction issued after Roe was handed down and refusing to consider the later laws passed by the Legislature to regulate abortion.

“Arizona courts have a responsibility to attempt to harmonize all of this state’s relevant statutes,” Eckerstrom wrote, mirroring arguments made by attorneys for Planned Parenthood.

The appeals court set a hearing for next week to consider whether to set an expedited schedule for hearing Planned Parenthood’s full appeal.

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