PHOENIX — Planned Parenthood said Thursday it is resuming abortion services at all of its Arizona facilities while the issue works its way through the courts.
“I am thrilled today to be able to share with you that Planned Parenthood Arizona has officially resumed abortion care at our health centers across the state,” said Planned Parenthood President and CEO Brittany Fonteno. Arizona, during a press conference in front of the organization’s Tempe. center.
Planned Parenthood previously resumed abortions only at its Southern Arizona Regional Health Center in Tucson. The provider said it complies with the 15-week state law that passed this year.
Thursday’s announcement came three weeks after the Arizona Court of Appeals granted Planned Parenthood a stay of a lower court ruling authorizing the enforcement of a near-total ban on abortion that originated before Arizona was a state. A final decision from the appeals court is pending, and that decision may be appealed to the state Supreme Court.
“We know this could very well be temporary,” Fonteno said. “In court, we continue to oppose hardline anti-abortion politicians who work overtime to continue to sow chaos and confusion and put politics before patients.”
On Oct. 7, a three-judge appeals court panel agreed with Planned Parenthood that a Tucson judge should not have lifted the decades-old order that prevented the imposition of the old law.
The brief order written by Presiding Judge Peter J. Eckerstrom said Planned Parenthood and its Arizona affiliate had shown they were likely to prevail on an appeal of the court judge‘s Sept. 23 ruling. Pima County Superior Kellie Johnson to allow the old law to be enforced.
Planned Parenthood had argued that Johnson should have considered a slew of laws restricting abortions since the original injunction was put in place following the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Roe v . Wade, that women have a constitutional right to abortion.
These laws include a new blocking abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy which came into effect last month. The previous limit was 24 weeks, the viability standard established by the now overturned US Supreme Court cases.
“It really is a pivotal moment for Arizonans who don’t live in a post-Roe world,” Fonteno said. “As we celebrate today, we cannot ignore that we are still on a long and uncertain journey to restore the fundamental right to abortion in Arizona and make this essential health care truly accessible and equitable for all.”
The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe in June, and Republican Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich then asked that the injunction blocking enforcement of the pre-state ban be lifted. The injunction had been issued in 1973, shortly after Roe’s decision.
The wording of the new 15-week ban said it did not repeal prestate law, and Brnovich and some Republican lawmakers insisted the old law prevailed. It contains an exception if the life of the mother is in danger, but not in the case of rape or incest. Physicians, but not patients, are subject to prosecution under the law.
fonteno said KTAR News 92.3 FM in a separate interview, Planned Parenthood has struggled to retain staff since the injunction was lifted, which is why it took several weeks to resume statewide abortions.
Taylor Tasler of KTAR News 92.3 FM and Associated Press contributed to this report.
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