Abortion rights group opposes effort to restore Arizona ban

PHOENIX (AP) — Planned Parenthood Arizona said in a legal filing on July 20 the courts need to "harmonize" the state’s two different laws on abortion after Attorney General Mark Brnovich moved last week to reinstate an almost complete ban on the procedure dating back more than a century.

Brnovich on July 13 asked a court in Tucson to lift an order that had blocked the earlier ban. The newly conservative U.S. Supreme Court in June overturned the Roe v. Wade decision, leaving it up to states to decide how to regulate abortions.

Planned Parenthood Arizona said in its new court filing that providers must now navigate inconsistent statements from elected officials and insisted "this court has a duty to harmonize all of the Arizona Legislature’s enactments as they exist today."

Brnovich had said the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade meant that Arizona’s old law banning all abortions except when the woman’s life was at risk should now be enforceable.

Arizona also has a law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy that Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law in March. Ducey has insisted it takes precedence over the near-total ban Brnovich wants to enforce.

"The Supreme Court rightly returned this important issue to our elected representatives," Brittni Thomason, spokeswoman for Brnovich’s office, said Wednesday. "In Arizona, our legislature has consistently re-affirmed our existing law prior to Roe v. Wade, most recently with legislation passed by lawmakers and signed by the governor earlier this year.

"While we wait for the court to issue its opinion, we will continue to seek to protect the most vulnerable," she added.

Planned Parenthood Arizona’s CEO Brittany Fonteno said Wednesday that Brnovich "is playing politics at the expense of Arizonans’ lives."

"We know that Arizonans are overwhelmingly in favor of abortion access, and Planned Parenthood will continue to fight these attacks to ensure that everyone gets the health care they need and deserve," Fonteno said.

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