Legal status of abortions remains unresolved

People protest in response to the Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24, 2022. The Court’s decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health overturns the landmark 50-year-old Roe v Wade case and erases a federal right to an abortion. /Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images

By Howard Fischer| Capitol Media Services 

The question of whether some or all abortions are currently legal in Arizona  and for how long – remains unresolved as the issue goes to judges here.

On Wednesday, Attorney General Mark Brnovich said he will ask Pima County Superior Court to dissolve a 49-year-old injunction it issued in 1973 blocking Arizona from enforcing its existing laws making it a crime to perform an abortion. He said that was effectively overruled by the June 24 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the historic Roe v. Wade decision.

But in saying he wants to “vacate the injunction” of ARS 13-3603 – the state’s pre-1973 law outlawing abortion except to save the life of the mother – Brnovich appears to be acknowledging that the court-ordered bar against the state enforcing the law remains in place unless and until the court acts.

So far, though, Planned Parenthood Arizona has chosen not to resume abortions which it halted the morning of the Supreme Court decision.

“We are not going to put our patients, staff and communities at risk,” said Brittany Fonteno, the organization’s president told Capitol Media Services. Instead, she said, Planned Parenthood wants “actual clarity from a court of law.”

Fonteno said, though, her organization plans to be involved when Brnovich finally does move to dissolve the injunction.

“And we are hopeful that we will soon be able to block this law in court,” she said.

Whether Pima County Attorney Laura Conover will be part of the litigation – and whose side she will be on — remains unclear.

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