Planned Parenthood resumes abortion services in Arizona as legal battle continues
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Planned Parenthood of Arizona announced Thursday morning that it will begin booking appointments for abortion procedures as a legal battle continues.
National and state leaders of the organization made the announcement during a news conference discussing what they called “the chaos and uncertainty over the state of abortion access” in the state. The announcement comes just days after the Arizona Attorney General’s Office struck a deal Monday in court with those pushing to overturn the territorial-era law that banned nearly all abortions.
Pro-choice and pro-life groups associated with the lawsuit had agreed that the 15-week ban on all abortions, with no exceptions for rape or incest, passed in the state Legislature and signed by Gov. Doug Ducey earlier this year, will stay in effect until Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit is decided on.
“Our goal has always been about pursuing clarity and consistency in the law, and we will now have that while the litigation moves forward in state and federal courts,” the attorney’s general office said earlier this week.
Medical professionals, like Valley OBGYN Dr. Greg Marchand, say this is a confusing time for patients. “It’s been extremely confusing for patients because there was a time that a law from the 1800s was allowed to be enforced,” said Dr. Marchand.
Planned Parenthood CEO Brittany Fonteno says they will continue to fight in court. “We continue to oppose exstremist anti-abortion politicians who continue to stir chaos and confusion,” she said.
During the stop of abortion procedures, Planned Parenthood officials say about 20 women had to look for services out of state, but they believe the number could be much higher. “This is nothing new in Arizona because prior to Roe vs. Wade being overturned our ban was at 20 weeks where as you can preform terminations up into 24 weeks in California,” said Dr. Marchand.
While Planned Parenthood says they celebrate Thursday’s steps, they know it could be temporary. However, Dr. Marchand says he doesn’t see the 15-week ban being overturned. “Laws can change, but as your OBGYNs we’re on top of these laws and we can encourage you and we can counsel you to know what your rights and what can and can’t be done,” he explained.
Earlier this month, the Arizona chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of Dr. Paul Isaacson, who runs an abortion clinic, and the Arizona Medical Association, the largest medical association in the state. The doctor claimed that the lawsuit was due to the lack of communication and clarification regarding abortion legality after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that said abortion was a constitutional right.
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