Arizona Attorney General Says Pre-1901 Abortion Ban Enforceable

( The attorney general in Arizona said this week that an abortion ban that dates back before Arizona was even a state is now enforceable following the decision by the Supreme Court last week.

The office for Mark Brnovich announced on Wednesday that he would soon file to remove the injunction that has been in place for almost 50 years that has stopped the law from being enforced. Since the high court’s decision last week to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision, Arizona’s attorney general has been weighing whether the state’s old law would be able to be enforced.

The fact that he believes it can will put him on the opposite side of the argument as the state’s Republican governor, Doug Ducey.

In March, the governor signed a new law that banned all abortions in Arizona after 15 weeks of pregnancy. When he signed it, Ducey said the new law would take precedence over the law that was in place in Arizona since 1901, which was 11 years before it was even admitted to the union as a state.

Some opponents of abortion who wrote the new law, as well as the state senator who was the sponsor of it, say the old law can, indeed be enforced. In backing up their claims, they say there was a provision in the new law that outlined it wasn’t overriding the law from the early 1900s.

As Brnovich tweeted this week:

“Our office has concluded the Legislature has made its intentions clear with regards to abortion laws. ARS 13-3603 (the pre-statehood law) is back in effect and will not be repealed” as of September, when the new law Ducey signed goes into effect.

C.J. Karamargin, a spokesman for the governor, said they were still reviewing the decision made by Brnovich, and wouldn’t comment on it as of yet.

The pre-statehood law allows for people who help women get an abortion to be sentenced between two and five years in prison. That old law only provides one exception for abortions — if the pregnant woman’s life is at risk.

Many abortion clinics in Arizona stopped offering abortions only hours after the Supreme Court issued its ruling last Friday. They were worried that the 1901 law could be enforced, and that they would be held accountable to its rules as a result.

Brittany Forteno, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona, said that it was just too risky for the organization to continue to provide care for abortions because of the possibility of prosecutions.

While Brnovich is currently Arizona’s attorney general, he has higher political aspirations. He is facing off with many other Republican contenders in the state’s August 2 primary for the right to enter the general election in November for a seat on the U.S. Senate.

It’s possible that he’s using this fight to enforce Arizona’s more than 100-year-old law banning abortions to bring himself more notoriety heading into that election.