Arizona’s Republican attorney general said on Wednesday that a total ban on abortions that had been on the books since before the state was created could be enforced, putting him at odds with GOP Gov. Doug Ducey, who says that a 15-week abortion ban he signed in March takes precedence.
Attorney General Mark Brnovich reviews the law since at least 1901 since the United States Supreme Court overturned its 1973 Roe v. Wade last week. Abortion clinics across Arizona immediately stopped performing the procedure after Friday’s court ruling for fear of lawsuits.
Other states are also grappling with when and how to enforce bans that had been blocked nationwide under Roe. Louisiana’s attorney general on Wednesday issued a warning to doctors against performing abortions, despite a judge’s order preventing the state from enforcing its ban on the procedure.
In a letter to the Louisiana State Medical Society, Attorney General Jeff Landry said Monday’s order from the state judge blocking the app “is limited in scope” and that abortion has been a crime since the ruling. of Friday giving states the power to ban abortions.
“It is incumbent on this office to inform you that any medical professional who would perform or has performed an elective abortion after the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs is jeopardizing their freedom and medical license,” Landry wrote, referring to Friday’s decision.
The High Court ruling sparked legal battles in several states where lawmakers have sought to ban or restrict abortion.
The two Kentucky abortion clinics on Wednesday asked a judge to issue a temporary restraining order to block a state law that went into effect after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on Friday. Lawyers for a Louisville clinic argued that the Kentucky constitution allows abortion. They said one of the clinics had turned away about 200 potential patients since Friday’s ruling.
The Arizona dispute between two Republicans was not unexpected. The leader of the group who helped draft the law and the Republican senator who sponsored it, Nancy Barto, argued that the old law could be enforced. They pointed to a specific provision which stated that it did not override this law. Brnovich came down on their side.
“Our office has concluded that the Legislature has clearly expressed its intentions with respect to abortion laws,” Brmovich said on Twitter. “ARS 13-3603 (the pre-state law) is back in effect and will not be repealed” when the new law takes effect in late September.
Ducey’s spokesman, CJ Karamargin, the governor’s office was reviewing Brnovich’s decision and had no immediate comment.
Abortion providers have also cited the old law, and another passed last year that conferred full rights over eggs and fetuses, as reasons to halt procedures.
The old law had been in place at least since 1901, 12 years before the establishment of the state. He says anyone who helps a pregnant woman get an abortion can be sentenced to two to five years in prison. The only exception is if the woman’s life is in danger.
It has been blocked since 1973, but Brnovich says he will ensure that this injunction is withdrawn.
The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade will essentially cause a “legal civil war” between states as each creates its own set of abortion laws with different criminality standards, criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor Bernarda Villalona tells LX News. .
Lawyers for Ohio abortion providers on Wednesday asked the state’s Supreme Court to use its powers to strike down the ban on abortion at the first detectable “fetal heartbeat.” The American Civil Liberties Union, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and others argued that the law violated the Ohio Constitution’s broad individual liberty protections.
A challenge to West Virginia’s abortion ban was announced Wednesday by that state’s ACLU. The organization said it joined others in filing the lawsuit in Kanawha County Circuit Court on behalf of the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia. The ACLU says the state ban dates back to the 1800s and has been superseded by numerous laws passed since then, including a 20-week abortion ban that was passed in 2015 and recognizes the right to a patient to an abortion.
Earlier, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall was quick to warn that elective abortions are illegal in the state. His Friday statement came after a federal judge lifted an injunction shortly after the Supreme Court ruling.
The decision also led to an increase in demand for emergency contraceptives – and limits imposed by some retailers on the number of emergency contraceptives consumers can buy,
In Louisiana, Landry’s spokesperson did not immediately respond to a message asking if his office would seek to sue doctors who perform abortions while the judge’s order is in effect.
The state’s three abortion clinics said they would resume operations while the order is in effect. It was not immediately clear whether that decision would be affected by Landry’s letter.
Louisiana and Kentucky are among the states that had “trigger” laws designed to ban abortion, with few exceptions, in anticipation of a Supreme Court ruling ending abortion rights.
The Planned Parenthood Association of Utah filed a lawsuit in Utah state court on Saturday and will seek a temporary restraining order against the state’s abortion ban.
Associated Press reporters Bob Christie in Phoenix, Julie Smyth in Columbus, Ohio, and Dylan Lovan in Louisville, Kentucky contributed to this story.