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Appeals panel rules in Planned Parenthood’s favor, abortion, at least for now, legal through 15 weeks 

by | Oct 10, 2022

By Dave Andrusko

On Friday a three judge panel of the Arizona Court of Appeals agreed with Planned Parenthood and ruled that Pima County Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson should not have lifted the injunction that had prevented the state from enforcing a 1901 law that outlawed most abortions.

In a brief order, Presiding Judge Peter J. Eckerstrom said Planned Parenthood and its Arizona affiliate ”had shown they are likely to prevail on an appeal of a decision by the judge in Tucson to allow enforcement of the old law.” As a result, at least for now, abortions can take place again in Arizona.

“Arizona courts have a responsibility to attempt to harmonize all of this state’s relevant statutes,” Eckerstrom wrote. The judge was alluding to “a host of laws restricting abortions passed since the original injunction was put in place following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade that said women have a constitutional right to an abortion,” The Associated Press’s Bob Christie explained.

“Those laws include a new one blocking abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy that took effect last month.”

Judge Johnson ruled that the plaintiff were not likely to win on appeal. Attorneys with Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s office told the judge that “since the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 24 decision [overturning Roe v. Wade] said women do not have a constitutional right to obtain an abortion, there was no legal reason to block the old law.”

The appeals panel was not persuaded. “The appeals court said Planned Parenthood has shown it is likely to prevail on its argument that the trial court erred by limiting its analysis only to the attorney general’s request to lift the 50-year-old injunction and refusing to consider the later laws passed by the Legislature to regulate abortion,” Christie wrote.

“The appeals court set a hearing for next week to consider whether to set an expedited schedule for hearing Planned Parenthood’s full appeal.”

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