Brnovich argues there's no legal conflict with territorial and new abortion laws

By Greg Hahne
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Published: Monday, November 14, 2022 - 2:39pm

In a 70-page filing, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is arguing that there is no legal conflict by having two different statutes on the books that outlaw abortion procedures. He says that is because prosecutors can choose which, if any, to enforce.

One law dating back to 1864 bans almost all abortions except to save the life of the mother, and the other law passed this year bars doctors from performing abortions after 15 weeks with similar exceptions. 

Brnovich’s claim that there is no legal problem with having both laws comes as the state Court of Appeals concluded a trial judge has to harmonize them.

Attorneys for Planned Parenthood Arizona argue that harmonization can be done by reading the new law as applying to doctors, while the territorial one would apply to non-medical professionals. 

When the legislature drafted the new law, it explicitly included language leaving the territorial statute intact.

The appellate court will hear arguments at the end of the month.