An Arizona appeals court temporarily blocked enforcement of a statewide ban on nearly all abortions on Friday after a three-judge panel voted to grant an emergency stay filed by Planned Parenthood, according to court documents.
The decision temporarily allows health care providers to perform abortions up to 15 weeks pregnant until Planned Parenthood Arizona’s appeal is resolved.
The organization had appealed a ruling last month by Pima County Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson, who said the state’s 1901 ban on nearly all abortions could be enforced. . Johnson’s decision came a day before a 15-week abortion ban took effect in the state and it effectively banned all abortions except when the procedure is necessary to save the life of the woman. mother.
On Friday, Judge Peter Eckerstrom wrote in the order that “the courts of Arizona have a responsibility to attempt to harmonize all relevant laws of this state.”
“The court further finds that the balance of hardship weighs heavily in favor of granting the stay, given the acute need of health care providers, prosecuting agencies and the public for legal clarity as to the application of our criminal laws,” the order reads.
Brittni Thomason, spokesperson for the Arizona Attorney General’s office, said in a statement following the ruling that “our office understands this is an emotional issue, and we will carefully review the court’s decision. before determining the next step.
Planned Parenthood Arizona applauded the decision, saying that “although today’s order provides temporary respite” for residents of the state, there is still “an ongoing threat from this extreme and near total ban on abortion”.
“For over 100 days Arizonans have experienced pure chaos and confusion and it has been traumatic for our doctors and staff who have been forced to inform patients that they can no longer care for them” said Planned Parenthood Arizona President and CEO Brittany Fonteno. “The court’s decision to issue a stay while the legal process continues will allow Planned Parenthood Arizona to resume abortion care services. Planned Parenthood Arizona is committed to defending reproductive freedom for all and to continuing this fight until this 150-year-old law is permanently removed.
Fonteno said the organization is working to resume clinic operations statewide, but exact dates for specific locations have yet to be announced.
“We are already working diligently to resume abortion care in the Tucson area, and unfortunately with an operation as large as Planned Parenthood, as the largest abortion provider in the state, resuming care is not not as easy as turning on a light switch,” Fonteno says.