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Brnovich wants a judge to lift an injunction on Arizona’s abortion ban, clearing the way to prosecute doctors

By: - July 13, 2022 4:38 pm

An abortion rights activist held a sign for passers-by near an anti-abortion rally outside the New Jersey statehouse on June 25, 2022. Photo by Dana DiFilippo | New Jersey Monitor

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has asked a Pima County judge to lift a nearly 50-year-old injunction that stopped the state from banning abortion in most cases, citing the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade as justification for implementing a law that would throw doctors in jail.

In 1973, following the ruling in Roe that gave women a constitutional right to receive abortions, an injunction was placed against the state barring it from enforcing a 1901 statute that made it illegal to receive, provide or advertise abortions. 


Brnovich is now asking the court to lift the injunction because it was solely based on the Roe decision that was made “no longer equitable” by the Supreme Court’s ruling last month in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health

Jodi Liggett, founder of the Arizona Center for Women’s Advancement, said Arizona women will be harmed by Brnovich’s action.

“This is a massive step backward,” she told the Arizona Mirror.

The request before the Pima court comes just two weeks after the AG said a Civil War era abortion law was now enforceable. The law could see anyone who facilitates a procedure that produces a miscarriage put in prison for between two and five years. 

The law has no exception for abortion in cases of rape or incest. Interim Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell has said she is unlikely to prosecute cases of survivors of rape and incest, though she hasn’t said how she will determine which people will avoid prosecution. The territorial-era law bans abortion in the state of Arizona except for in cases where the woman’s life is in danger.

Liggett said states are now faced with a choice in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling: guarantee abortion rights or ban abortion.

“Sadly for Arizona, politics and the law have collided at this terrible moment,” she said. “The cruel lack of exceptions in the pre-statehood ban, and Brnovich’s easy acceptance of it, indicate how little this latest effort has to do with protecting women and girls.

“It has everything to do with playing to a partisan base.”

One of the lawyers on Brnovich’s motion is an attorney for Scottsdale-based Alliance Defending Freedom who is representing fetuses in the case. Alliance Defending Freedom is an SPLC-designated hate group that has supported the re-criminalization of consenting sexual contact between LGBTQ people as well as supported state-sanctioned sterilization of LGBTQ people abroad. 

***UPDATE: This story has been updated to include comments from Jodi Liggett.


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Jerod MacDonald-Evoy
Jerod MacDonald-Evoy

Reporter Jerod MacDonald-Evoy joined the Arizona Mirror from the Arizona Republic, where he spent 4 years covering everything from dark money in politics to Catholic priest sexual abuse scandals. He brings strong watchdog sensibilities and creative storytelling skills to the Arizona Mirror.