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Arizona judge rules on law banning nearly all abortions in state

The case, which is likely to be appealed no matter which way the ruling goes, concerns how restrictive abortion laws are in Arizona, a wobbly state that President Joe Biden has taken with him. less than 11,000 votes. It’s a controversial topic that has divided Republicans in Arizona and reflects a Hot debate across the country after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in late June, with many GOP-led states passing increasingly restrictive measures that risks alienating moderate voters.
Earlier this year, before that Decision of the US Supreme CourtThe Arizona Legislature passed a law banning abortion after 15 weeks. law 1901 – passed before Arizona became a state. and can be traced back to as early as 1864 – banning abortion in all but “necessary to save (the mother’s) life.” The previous law gave prison sentences of two to five years for those providing abortion services.

The previous law was blocked by a court order in Pima County Superior Court following Roe’s decision in 1973. But after the high court overturned Roe in June, Arizona’s Republican Attorney General , Mark Brnovich, announced that he would seek to enforce the state’s ban on pre-abortion. .

He asked the Pima County Superior Court to lift the ban, arguing that the court should provide “clarity and consistency to our state.” Brnovich’s position, which he took while competing unsuccessfully to win the GOP nod for the US Senate, contradicts the view of the Republican governor, who has maintained that the ban 15 weeks should be preferred.

The confusing regulatory landscape in Arizona has unfolded amid a changing national political landscape ahead of mid-November, while both historical trends and the nation’s souring mood about inflation initially seemingly backing Republicans in their quest to take control of the US House and Senate this November, the Supreme Court’s decision on abortion has energized female voters across the country. — a momentum that has led to a surprising victory for abortion rights advocates in Kansas and a better-than-expected performance by Democrats in the special election for the U.S. House of Representatives since Dobbs rule.

Political consultants from both parties in Arizona acknowledge that disagreement over what law will apply in the state has created uncertainty for races across the state. Republicans, who only need to win one seat to topple the Senate, are trying to oust Democratic Senator Mark Kelly as he runs for a full six-year term. And Democrats are trying to topple the governor’s mansion, now held by Ducey.

Even slightly higher turnout for Democrats could be important in races that could be decided on the sidelines. Recently The Wall Street Journal poll found that 57% of voters opposed the ban at week 15 with one exception solely because of the mother’s health.

During the race for governor of Arizona, Democrat Katie Hobbs tried to paint GOP opponent Kari Lake as “radical” on abortion charges. Lake has repeatedly said she opposes the procedure and in an August press conference said she would “comply with the laws that are on the books.” But she did not specify what law she meant. “If people don’t like the law on the books, then they need to elect representatives who will change the law. I’m running for governor, not for God. So I don’t have the power to write the law,” she said. .

Her campaign did not respond to CNN’s request to clarify her position on pre-state law or to a query about whether she believes Arizona’s new 15-week abortion ban is far enough. are not. Hobbs said she would veto any legislation that “infringes a woman’s right to her own body” and she called for the abortion ban to be lifted before the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. .

Both Party and Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters, who is challenging Kelly, has argued that their Democratic opponents have adopted views that are too far from the pro-rights mainstream. abortion.

But Master removed the language from his campaign website expressed support for a “federal privacy act” and other conservative anti-abortion views after winning the GOP nomination last month. His campaign told CNN that Masters does not support the South Carolina Senator’s proposal. Lindsey Graham about a federal abortion ban At 15 weeks, exceptions will be provided to protect the mother’s life and in the case of rape or incest. But Masters’ campaign did not respond to questions about his views on pre-state law or the court case to enforce it.
Kelly, an abortion rights advocate, said in a recent interview told KTAR News that there could be restrictions “in late pregnancy” but “we just need to make sure that women can get the health care they need if they face serious circumstances.” ”

Planned Parenthood Arizona initially halted abortion services following a high court ruling in the Dobbs Women’s Health Foundation v. Jackson in June and then resumed care. But it’s now bracing for another potential pause if the judge rules that the pre-state law can go into effect again.

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America fought Brnovich’s move in Pima County Superior Court – the court that heard the injunction in 1973 – where it argued in a legal filing that “providers in Arizona was left to navigate inconsistent statements by elected officials the status of the law “and Brnovich pushed for pre-state law enforcement while” blatantly ignoring that Arizona’s legal code today includes dozens of laws that explicitly authorize physicians to provide abortion services.”

Planned Parenthood’s attorneys argued that the court had a duty “to harmonize all enactments of the Arizona Legislature as they exist today.” In the post-Dobbs era, the group argues that pre-state law may be “enforceable in some respects” but that it should not apply to abortions provided by licensed physicians – and instead, the ban should apply to anyone other than a licensed physician attempting to provide an abortion.

“There are many laws the state legislature has passed over the past 50 years that explicitly regulate abortion as a safe medical procedure,” said Brittany Fonteno, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood Arizona. can be safely and legally performed by a licensed physician”. “The Attorney General is not allowed to choose a particular law and ignore all other laws contained in the book.”

Although the nationwide group does not support abortion restrictions, Fonteno said its legal strategy in Arizona is guided by a recognition of what is “feasible” in the post-Dobbs era allowing the Republican Party to state control in Arizona and what she describes as “a state court system with many anti-abortion judges.”

Brnovich’s office did not respond to multiple requests from CNN to discuss their arguments in the case and what the legal landscape would look like if the judge allowed the pre-state restraining order to go into effect a few days ago. when Arizona’s 15-week abortion ban went into effect. law.

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