Mark Brnovich Files Motion to Fully Reinstate Arizona Abortion Law Which Aims to Ban the Procedure

Mark Brnovich

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed a motion in Pima County Wednesday which seeks to lift a 50-year-old injunction that puts Arizona’s law banning abortions on hold following the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision.

“We believe this is the best and most accurate state of the law,” Brnovich said in a press release. “We know this is an important issue to so many Arizonans, and our hope is that the court will provide clarity and uniformity for our state.”

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office (AGO) states that, following the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) opinion overturning Roe v. Wade that puts the issue of abortion in the state’s hands, they want to apply abortion law across Arizona consistently.

According to Brnovich’s brief, he moves the court for relief from the “Second Amended Final Judgement” (SAFJ). The judgment came weeks after the 1973 SCOTUS Roe v. Wade decision and declared the 1901 territorial law A.R.S. § 13-221, now codified as 13-3603, unconstitutional.

The Arizona law makes it a crime for anyone to provide, supply, or administer a pregnant woman with any medicine or instruments that cause a miscarriage unless it saves the woman’s life. While the woman in the situation is not punished, the administrator is and can be sentenced to two-five years in prison.

However, Brnovich argued that relief on the SAFJ is warranted because the judgment was made based on a SCOTUS decision that has since been overturned. Brnovich justifies this stance under the Arizona Rule of Civil Procedure (ARCP) 60(b)(5) and (6).

ARCP 60(b)(5) states that if “the judgment has been satisfied, released, or discharged; it is based on an earlier judgment that has been reversed or vacated,” a court may relieve a party or its legal representative from a final judgment.

“It is beyond dispute that Dobbs represents a change in the very law that was the sole and express basis for the Second Amended Final Judgment,” according to the motion. “Before Roe, Arizona had repeatedly enforced the criminal ban (codified then as § 13-211) on performing abortions other than to save the life of the mother by bringing prosecutions against doctors who performed such abortions.”

Furthermore, Brnovich said that if the court denies the brief under ARCP 60(b)(5), (b)(6) also warrants a relief. The rule states that relief is permissible under “any other reason justifying relief,” Brnovich argued that Roe is an “extraordinary circumstance that justifies relief.”

The Arizona Sun Times previously reported that Brnovich stated he would fight to reinstate A.R.S. § 13-3603. There was confusion amongst Arizona leaders over what abortion law is enforceable in Arizona. Aside from the 1901 law, Senate Bill (SB) 1164, sponsored by State Senator Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix), was signed into law in 2022 and bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

However, the law states that it does not repeal, by implication or otherwise, Section 13-3603 of Arizona Revised Statutes. The AGO used this line to justify the reimplementation of A.R.S. § 13-36f03 further.

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Neil Jones is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].



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