By Corinne Murdock |
On Monday, Planned Parenthood Arizona (PPAZ) filed a motion to stay a court ruling reinstating Arizona’s total abortion ban.
Last Thursday, Pima County Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson lifted an injunction on the 1901 total abortion ban in Planned Parenthood Center of Tucson, et al. v. Gary Nelson, et al. The court case is a continuation of the 1970s case that enjoined the total abortion ban as unconstitutional based on the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruling in Roe v. Wade.
Johnson ruled that SCOTUS overturning Roe v. Wade earlier this year nullified the Pima County Superior Court’s injunction against Arizona’s total abortion ban. Johnson added that she wouldn’t be addressing the legality of Arizona’s abortion statutes.
“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,” stated Johnson. “The Court finds an attempt to reconcile fifty years of legislative activity procedurally improper in the context of the motion and record before it. While there may be legal questions the parties seek to resolve regarding Arizona statutes on abortions, those questions are not for this Court to decide here.”
The 1901 ban, which predated Arizona’s statehood, resembles the most recent abortion law enacted by Governor Doug Ducey in March. While the former institutes a total abortion ban, the latter limits abortions to 15 weeks. However, the latter law stipulates that it doesn’t supersede the 1901 ban.
In a press release, PPAZ President and CEO Brittany Fonteno had a different view of the two laws’ relationship. Fonteno contended that Johnson’s ruling enabled conflicting laws to exist in the state, therefore forcing their facilities to continue suspension of abortions.
“This confusion has forced Planned Parenthood Arizona to pause abortion services and cancel appointments scheduled this week — meaning that members of the community once again have been and will continue to be denied medical care that they deserve and need while this decision is in effect,” said Fonteno. “This is unacceptable.”
The few abortion clinics that continued to provide certain services while awaiting the court ruling, such as Camelback Family Clinic, have suspended their services due to this latest ruling.
Arizona’s abortion fund providers — Abortion Fund of Arizona (AFAZ) and the Tucson Abortion Support Collective (TASC), as well as a national network that serves Native American women only in Arizona, Indigenous Women Rising (IWR) — continue to collect funds to provide abortions and all associated costs, such as transportation and time off work.
The fundraising page for the three abortion fund providers, launched through the Democratic fundraising platform ActBlue, has raised nearly $47,800 with a goal of $100,000 as of press time.
“Funding abortion care is a radical act of compassion and you, too, can be a part of this work!” reads the fundraiser page.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who argued for the court to lift the 1973 injunction on the state’s total abortion ban, commended Johnson for issuing proper legal recourse.
“We applaud the court for upholding the will of the legislature and providing clarity and uniformity on this important issue. I have and will continue to protect the most vulnerable Arizonans,” stated Brnovich.
In addition to Arizona, 14 other states have total abortion bans: Idaho, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia. 9 more states are fighting to restore or have total abortion bans on the books in addition to current abortion restrictions: Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and North Carolina.