Near-total abortion ban in Arizona halted by court order

A decades-old law that imposes a near-total ban on abortion in Arizona has been put on hold, according to court documents.

FOX 10 has obtained court documents related to a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood Arizona against Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, in which an Emergency Motion for Stay was being sought.

In the document, a judge ruled that Planned Parenthood has demonstrated a "substantial likelihood of success on the merits on its claims that the trial court erred" in their rulings related to the near-total abortion ban's constitutional viability.

It has been noted that Arizona has competing abortion laws: one that bans nearly all forms of abortion and one that bans abortions after 15 weeks.

"Arizona courts have a responsibility to attempt to harmonize all of this state’s relevant statutes. The court further concludes the balance of hardships weigh strongly in favor of granting the stay, given the acute need of healthcare providers, prosecuting agencies, and the public for legal clarity as to the application of our criminal laws," read a portion of the court documents.

In September, Planned Parenthood of Arizona sought a stay on a ruling that lifted an injunction on the state's abortion ban. The injunction on the ban, which was placed after the Roe v. Wade ruling was overturned, was lifted by a judge in Pima County.

"For over a hundred days since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Arizonans have experienced pure chaos and confusion, and it has been exceedingly traumatic for our physicians, staff and patients," said Planned Parenthood Arizona's President & CEO, Brittany Fonteno.

News of the abortion ban being placed on hold, however, was not welcomed by everyone, with many pro-life advocates saying this is a major setback for protecting the unborn. We have reached out to multiple pro-life advocates for comment, but none were available on Oct. 7.

In a statement, officials with the Arizona Attorney General's Office said:

"Our office understands this is an emotional issue, and we will carefully review the court's ruling before determining the next step."

A hearing has been scheduled to determine whether or not to set an expedited scheduled for hearing Planned Parenthood's full appeal.

Arizona's near-total abortion ban, explained

The law that has been put on hold by a judge once again is known legally as ARS 13-3603.

The law reads:

"The 1901 law is directed at someone who does supply provide or administer those drugs or medicine with the intent to induce a miscarriage, so it’s not directed at the pregnant woman herself," said Emily Ward with law firm Fennemore Craig.

The law, according to a report by the Associated Press, dates back to at least 1901, 11 years before Arizona was even a state.

Read More: Here's what to know about ARS 13-3603

The law, and by extension, abortion in Arizona, became a focus following a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

On June 29, Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced, on his Twitter, that the state's abortion ban is back in effect, and will not be overturned by SB1164, the 15-week abortion ban that was signed by Gov. Doug Ducey in March.

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