Attorney General Brnovich files motion to fully reinstate Arizona’s abortion ban

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich.(Arizona's Family)
Published: Jul. 13, 2022 at 2:44 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Two days after a federal judge in Phoenix blocked Arizona’s 2021 ‘personhood’ law that gives all legal rights to unborn children, Attorney General Mark Brnovich has filed a motion to fully reinstate the state’s 1901 abortion ban and seek clarity for the law.

Abortion rights groups fighting the personhood law said the law put providers at risk of prosecution for various crimes. U.S. District Judge Douglas Rayes said in his written ruling that the groups that sued to block the law are right — it is “anyone’s guess,” as the state acknowledged, what criminal laws abortion providers may be breaking if they perform otherwise-legal abortions.

“And that is the problem,” Rayes wrote. “When the punitive and regulatory weight of the entire Arizona code is involved, plaintiffs should not have to guess at whether their conduct is on the right or the wrong side of the law.”

Wednesday afternoon, Brnovich tweeted that his office filed a motion in Pima County to lift a 50-year injunction that put the state’s original law banning abortion on hold. Brnovich said his office wants consistency and clarity in the application of the law after the recent overturn of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We believe this is the best and most accurate state of the law,” said Brnovich. “We know this is an important issue to so many Arizonans, and our hope is that the court will provide clarity and uniformity for our state.”

Arizona’s law banning abortion was passed in 1901 but was put on hold in 1973 because of the initial Roe v. Wade ruling. Because of the recent overturn, states now have wide-ranging rights to limit abortion, and many laws limiting or blocking all abortions that were previously blocked can now be enforced. That has led to battles in many states over which laws are now enforceable. Arizona is in that position, with Republican Gov. Doug Ducey saying a ban on abortions after 15 weeks that he signed in March takes precedence over the pre-1901 law Brnovich said is in effect.