Arizona judge rejects Planned Parenthood’s plea to suspend ruling that halts all abortions

An Arizona judge on Friday rejected a plea by Planned Parenthood to suspend an earlier rule halting all abortions in the state.

Last Friday, Pima County Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson announced a decision to allow enforcement of a prior state law that makes it a felony to perform an abortion. On Friday, she rejected the appeal to suspend that decision.

In her decision, Johnson said abortion rights groups are unlikely to prevail in appealing her original ruling, so the abortion ban should remain in effect.

Both rulings specifically bar the state’s abortion providers from performing abortion procedures following the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 24 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which held that a woman had a constitutional right to an abortion.

Celina Washburn protests outside the Arizona Capitol to voice her dissent with an abortion ruling Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Phoenix.

Celina Washburn protests outside the Arizona Capitol to voice her dissent with an abortion ruling Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Phoenix.
(AP Photo/Matt York, File)

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Following the June decision, legal battles across the country, including the Pima County feud, over the legality of abortion sparked.

On September 23, Johnson ruled that a 1973 ban should be lifted so that the Civil War-era law criminalizing abortion could be enforced.

Planned Parenthood and its Arizona affiliate on Monday urged Johnson to suspend his ruling — citing the ban’s 50 years in effect as priority — as they seek an appeal of a state abortion ban.

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Protesters gather outside the Capitol to voice their disagreement with an abortion ruling Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Phoenix.

Protesters gather outside the Capitol to voice their disagreement with an abortion ruling Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Phoenix.
(AP Photo/Matt York, File)

On Saturday, a law passed by the state legislature last spring banning abortion after 15 weeks went into effect. The law was signed by Governor Doug Ducey.

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Brittany Fonteno, Planned Parenthood of Arizona President and CEO, said she was “outraged” by the verdict.

“It is unacceptable that the citizens of Arizona wake up every morning to their elected officials making conflicting statements about which laws apply or claiming they don’t know, and yet the court has refused to provide any clarity or relief, Fonteno said.

An Arizona judge ruled that the state can enforce a near-total ban on abortions that has been blocked for nearly 50 years.

An Arizona judge ruled that the state can enforce a near-total ban on abortions that has been blocked for nearly 50 years.
(AP Photo/Matt York, File)

Some clinics in Arizona have referred patients to providers in California and New Mexico.

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The Civil War-era law punishes violators, such as doctors or anyone else who assists in abortion, with a sentence of two to five years in prison. The legislature previously repealed a law that allowed women seeking abortions to be punished.

Arizona and 13 other states have banned abortions since Roe was overturned.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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