Abortions can take place again in Arizona, at least for now, after an appeals court on Friday blocked enforcement of a pre-statehood law that almost entirely criminalized the procedure. The three-judge panel of the Arizona Court of Appeals agreed with Planned Parenthood that a judge should not have lifted the decades-old order that prevented the older law from being imposed. The brief order written by Presiding Judge Peter J. Eckerstrom said Planned Parenthood and its Arizona affiliate had shown they are likely to prevail on an appeal of a decision by the judge in Tucson to allow enforcement of the old law. Planned Parenthood had argued that the lower court judge should have considered a host of laws restricting abortions passed since the original injunction was put in place following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade that said women have a constitutional right to an abortion. Those laws include a new one blocking abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy that took effect last month. The previous limit was 24 weeks, the viability standard established by now-overruled U.S. Supreme Court cases. “Arizona courts have a responsibility to attempt to harmonize all of this state’s relevant statutes,” Eckerstrom wrote, mirroring arguments made by attorneys for Planned Parenthood. The U.S. Supreme Court overruled Roe in June, and Republican Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich then asked that the injunction blocking enforcement of the pre-statehood abortion be lifted. It had been issued in 1973, shortly after Roe was decided. Pima Court Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson agreed on Sept. 23 and lifted the order two weeks ago. “Today’s decision provides a desperately needed sense of security for both our patients and providers,” Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement. “We can now breathe a sigh of relief and serve patients. While the fight isn’t over, for now, Arizonans will once again be able to make their own decisions about their bodies, health care decisions, and futures.” Brnovich spokeswoman Brittni Thomason said in a statement that “our office understands this is an emotional issue, and we will carefully review the court’s ruling before determining the next step.” Republican Gov. Doug Ducey has said the 15-week law he signed in March takes precedence. But his lawyers did not seek to argue that position in court. Language in the new 15-week ban said it does not repeal the pre-statehood law, and Brnovich and some Republican lawmakers have insisted the old law takes precedence. It contains an exception if the life of the mother is at risk, but not for rape or incest. Providers across the state stopped abortions after the U.S. Supreme Court decision, but many restarted procedures in mid-summer. That came after a federal judge blocked a separate “personhood” law they worried would allow criminal charges against doctors and nurses. They halted again after Johnson’s ruling. Planned Parenthood and other abortion rights advocates have repeatedly said that Arizona’s competing abortion laws create confusion for providers and patients. The appeals court said Planned Parenthood has shown it is likely to prevail on its argument that the trial court erred by limiting its analysis only to the attorney general’s request to lift the 50-year-old injunction and refusing to consider the later laws passed by the Legislature to regulate abortion. Eckerstrom wrote that a stay is appropriate “given the acute need of healthcare providers, prosecuting agencies, and the public for legal clarity as to the application of our criminal laws. Notably, in the underlying litigation both parties sought some form of such clarification from the court.” The appeals court set a hearing for next week to consider whether to set an expedited schedule for hearing Planned Parenthood’s full appeal. Separately this week, a Phoenix doctor and an abortion rights group sued to block the old law, raising similar arguments that Johnson had rejected. In her ruling, Johnson wrote that while there may be legal questions regarding conflicting laws, they were not properly before her. Some clinics in Arizona have been referring patients to providers in California and New Mexico since Johnson lifted the injunction on the old law. The pre-statehood law carries a sentence of two to five years in prison for doctors or anyone else who assists in an abortion. Last year, the Legislature repealed a law allowing charges against women who seek abortions. One Phoenix clinic has come up with a workaround to allow patients who can use abortions pills to get them delivered to the California-Arizona border for pickup. That cuts the time it takes to get abortion pills, which are effective up to 12 weeks gestation, from a two-day trip to one that can be done in a day. Since Roe was overturned, Arizona and 13 other states have banned abortions at any stage of pregnancy. About 13,000 people in Arizona get an abortion each year, according to Arizona Department of Health Services reports.
Protests outside the Arizona Capitol over the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade that ended with a volley of tear gas were variously described Saturday as either peaceful or driven by anarchists intent on destruction. Republican Senate President Karen Fann issued a news release describing it as a thwarted insurrection, while protesters called it a violent overreaction by police who they said acted without warning or justification. Arizona Department of Public Safety statements said state troopers launched the gas as some in a group of 7,000 to 8,000 people that rallied at the Capitol on Friday night were trying to break into the state Senate. Lawmakers were working to finish their yearly session. The vast majority of people were peaceful and state police said there were no arrests or injuries. While both abortion opponents and abortion rights backers were there, most of the crowd opposed the high court's decision. Police fired tear gas at about 8:30 p.m. as dozens of people pressed up against the glass wall at the front of the Senate building, chanting and waving signs backing the right to abortion. While most were peaceful, a handful of people were banging on the windows, and one person forcefully tried to kick in a sliding glass door. That's when SWAT team members with the Department of Public Safety stationed on the second floor of the old Capitol building fired the tear gas. READ: Palestinian march in Paris defies ban, is met by tear gas Video taken from inside the Senate lobby by Republican Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita showed the scene. Another she took moments later showed state police in riot gear forming a line inside the building, facing protesters on the other side of the glass. She said in an interview with The Associated Press on Saturday morning that the protesters were clearly trying to enter the locked building. "They were aggressively banging on the windows in a way that at any moment it could break," Ugenti-Rita said. “This wasn’t a knock on a window. I mean, they were trying to break the windows.” Hundreds of protesters could been seen in her videos milling about the plaza between the House and Senate buildings, while about a hundred were closer, near the glass wall at the front of the Senate building. “There was no other conclusion than they were interested in being violent,” she added. "I have no other takeaway than that. I’ve seen many protests over my years, in many different sizes and forms. I’ve never seen that ever.” Democratic state Rep. Athena Salman of Tempe, however, said those gassed were peaceful. “A bunch of House and Senate Democrats voted to give these cops a huge pay raise,” said said on Twitter in a post showing police firing tear gas. “Some even called it historic. Remember that every time the cops gas peaceful protesters.” State police said in a statement that what “began as a peaceful protest evolved into anarchical and criminal actions by masses of splinter group.” And they said they had issued multiple warnings for people to leave. Police said gas was deployed “after protesters attempted to break the glass" and was later deployed again in a plaza across the street. Police said some memorials at the plaza were defaced. No broken glass was visible at the Senate building after the crowd dispersed. Salman said in an interview Saturday that police in Arizona have a long history of using unneeded force against people exercising the First Amendment rights to protest and then blaming them for causing the trouble. She pointed to Black Lives Matter and immigrant justice protests, and said she's not surprised to see it at an abortion rights protest. “Anything related to human rights they're ultimately going to gas the crowd and then come up with cover stories justifying this excessive use of force,” Salman said. State Senate Democrats issued a statement Saturday saying the vast majority of protesters were peaceful while noting that a small number tried to enter the building. “We unequivocally condemn violence in all forms, and anxiously await the investigation results to explain the response of law enforcement,” the statement said. They also criticized “right-wing media and lawmakers” who called it an “insurrection attempt,” and said they were “weaponizing this moment to deflect from the actions of January 6th.” READ: Palestinian march in Paris defies ban, is met by tear gas Republicans lawmakers had enacted a 15-week abortion ban in March over the objection of minority Democrats. It mirrors a Mississippi law that the Supreme Court upheld on Friday while also striking down Roe. A law dating from before Arizona became a state in 1912 that bans all abortions remains on the books, and providers across the state stopped providing abortions earlier Friday out of fear of prosecution. The protester incident forced Senate lawmakers to flee to the basement for about 20 minutes, said Democratic Sen. Martin Quezada. Stinging tear gas wafted through the building afterward, and the proceedings were moved to a hearing room instead of the Senate chamber. Fann was presiding over a vote for a contentious school vouchers expansion bill when she abruptly halted proceedings. Speeches backing or supporting the bill expanding the state's school voucher program to all 1.1 million public school students were cut off, and the bill passed. “We're going into recess right now, OK?” Fann announced. “We have a security problem outside.” The building was never breached, said Kim Quintero, a spokesperson for the Senate GOP leadership. After the tear gas sent protesters fleeing, the Senate reconvened to vote on its final bills before adjourning for the year shortly after midnight. A faint smell of tear gas hung in the air.
Firefighters working in searing heat struggled to contain the largest wildfire in California this year while state power operators urged people to conserve energy after a huge wildfire in neighboring Oregon disrupted the flow of electricity from three major transmission lines. A large swath of the West baked during the weekend in triple-digit temperatures that were expected to continue into the start of the work week. The California Independent System Operator that manages the state’s power grid issued a five-hour ”flex alert” starting at 4 p.m. Monday and asked consumers to “conserve as much electricity as possible” to avoid any outages. Read:Heat wave blankets US West as fires rage in several states California and other parts of the West are sinking deeper into drought and that has sent fire danger sky high in many areas. In Arizona, a small plane crashed Saturday during a survey of a wildfire in rural Mohave County, killing both crew members. The Beech C-90 aircraft was helping perform reconnaissance over the lightning-caused Cedar Basin Fire, near the tiny community of Wikieup northwest of Phoenix. Officials on Sunday identified the victims as Air Tactical Group Supervisor Jeff Piechura, 62, a retired Tucson-area fire chief who was working for the Coronado National Forest, and Matthew Miller, 48, a pilot with Falcon Executive Aviation contracted by the U.S. Forest Service. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash. In Oregon, the Bootleg Fire exploded to 224 square miles (580 square kilometers) as it raced through heavy timber in the Fremont-Winema National Forest, near the Klamath County town of Sprague River. The fire disrupted service on three transmission lines providing up to 5,500 megawatts of electricity to neighboring California. The largest wildfire of the year in California was raging near the border with Nevada. The Beckwourth Complex Fire — a combination of two lightning-caused blazes burning north of Lake Tahoe — grew by a third Sunday to 134 square miles (348 kilometers). However, firefighters working in temperatures that topped 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) were able to gain some ground, doubling containment to 20%. Read: Study: Northwest heat wave impossible without climate change Late Saturday, flames jumped U.S. 395, which was closed near the small town of Doyle in California’s Lassen County. The lanes reopened Sunday, and officials urged motorists to use caution and keep moving along the key north-south route where flames were still active. “Do not stop and take pictures,” said the fire’s Operations Section Chief Jake Cagle. “You are going to impede our operations if you stop and look at what’s going on.” Cagle said structures had burned in Doyle, but he didn’t have an exact number. Bob Prary, who manages the Buck-Inn Bar in the town of about 600 people, said he saw at least six houses destroyed after Saturday’s flareup. The fire was smoldering Sunday in and around Doyle, but he feared some remote ranch properties were still in danger. “It seems like the worst is over in town, but back on the mountainside the fire’s still going strong,” Prary said. Read:Hundreds believed dead in heat wave despite efforts to help in Northwest A wildfire in southeast Washington grew to almost 60 square miles (155 square kilometers) as it blackened grass and timber while it moved into the Umatilla National Forest. In Idaho, Gov. Brad Little declared a wildfire emergency Friday and mobilized the state’s National Guard to help fight fires sparked after lightning storms swept across the drought-stricken region.
Bicyclist Tony Quinones had only just shaken hands with a fellow cyclist and wished him good luck in this weekend’s community race in an Arizona mountain town when a truck sped into a crowd of bike riders. Suddenly, Quinones said in an interview Sunday, he was “watching bodies going on top of the hood, bodies going to the left, bodies going to the right” about six minutes after the race had started. The sounds of breaking and smashing as the truck plowed through the cyclists on Saturday was quickly replaced by their groans of pain — including those of the cyclist Quinones had just met. Read:Driver rams cyclists in Arizona race, critically injuring 6 Authorities in the small city of Show Low said the unidentified 35-year-old male suspect fled the crash scene in the pickup and was shot and wounded by officers a short time later. Of the seven cyclists hospitalized, six were in critical condition, and one was in stable condition on Sunday, police said in a statement. The suspect, described as a local resident, was in stable condition, police said. Quinones, 55, said the man he had met before the race was a fellow New Mexican and that blood was flowing from his head and his nose after the pickup hit him. “He’s got a compound fracture, and I’m just saying, ‘Hey man keep breathing, keep breathing. Help’s on its way. Hey man, you’re going to be OK.’” Quinones said. “I mean, that’s just insane. It’s not just one. There’s like six, seven, eight other guys like who are all around doing the same thing.” Authorities were trying to determine why the man driving the truck rammed into the group of cyclists participating in the annual 58-mile (93-kilometer) Bike the Bluff race that drew hundreds of participants. He was shot by police nearby outside a hardware store in Show Low, which is about a three-hour drive northeast of Phoenix. Read: Driver crashes into crowd at Pride parade in Florida; 1 dead “We don’t know the motivation,” said Show Low city spokeswoman Grace Payne. Quinones said some cyclists wondered at first whether the driver of the truck had fallen asleep at the wheel. But Quinones said he saw the man accelerate toward the cyclists. “He went right at us,” he said. Witnesses said helmets, shoes and crumpled and broken bicycles were strewn across the street after the crash, and a tire was wedged into the grill of the truck that rammed the cyclists at about 7:25 a.m. in downtown Show Low. “I just remember, you know, this is surreal,” Quinones said. “I can’t believe I just shook this guy’s hand and we wished each other luck, and now I’m watching him with blood all over the place. And not a little blood. It wasn’t trickling out. There’s like a pool of blood.” The truck had damage to its top and sides and a bullet hole in a window. Read:Bangladeshi Lyft driver killed in NYC crash “This has been a horrible event,” police spokeswoman Kristine Sleighter said in a statement. “Our community is shocked at this incident and our hearts and prayers are with the injured and their families at this time.” After the truck’s driver hit a telephone pole, cyclists ran up to the truck and started pounding on the windows, screaming at the driver to get out. Instead of stopping, Quinones said the driver hit the accelerator and backed out, drove down the road, made a U-turn and then headed back toward the cyclists but did not hit them again and drove away. Payne said the driver did not comply when officers tried to arrest him, but the circumstances of the shooting were not immediately made public.
A driver in a pickup truck plowed into bicyclists during a community road race in Arizona on Saturday, critically injuring several riders before police chased the driver and shot him outside a nearby hardware store, authorities said. Six people were taken to a hospital in critical condition after the crash in the mountain town of Show Low, about a three-hour drive northeast of Phoenix, police said. Helmets, shoes and crumpled and broken bicycles were strewn across the street after the crash, and a tire was wedged into the grill of the truck, which had damage to its top and sides and a bullet hole in a window. Read:Driver crashes into crowd at Pride parade in Florida; 1 dead Two other people went to a hospital themselves, city spokeswoman Grace Payne said, and one of the severely injured was later flown by medical helicopter to a Phoenix-area hospital. The suspect, a 35-year-old man, also was hospitalized in critical but stable condition. “We don’t know the motivation,” Payne told The Associated Press. “We know he fled the scene.” Read:Bangladeshi Lyft driver killed in NYC crash Police said a Ford pickup truck struck the bicyclists about 7:25 a.m. in downtown Show Low during the annual 58-mile (93-kilometer) Bike the Bluff race, then fled. Officers pursued the driver and tried to stop him before he was shot, authorities said. Payne said the driver did not comply when officers tried to arrest him, but the circumstances of the shooting were not immediately released. Neither were the identities of the suspect and victims. Officials said the race had 270 participants. Read: Man rams car into 2 Capitol police; 1 officer, driver killed “Our community is shocked at this incident and our hearts and prayers are with the injured and their families at this time,” police spokeswoman Kristine Sleighter said in a statement. The Navajo County sheriff’s office and Arizona Department of Public Safety were helping investigate. U.S. 60, the main street in the town tucked in the White Mountains, was closed in the area.
Two battleground states, Wisconsin and Arizona, certified their presidential election results Monday in favor of Joe Biden, even as President Donald Trump’s legal team continued to dispute the results.
An Iraqi man living in metro Phoenix is accused of leading an al-Qaida group that authorities say killed two police officers 14 years ago on the streets of Fallujah in attacks carried out by masked men.
U.S. immigration authorities have started busing asylum-seekers who cross the border in Arizona to Texas, where they are sent to Mexico to await court hearings, according to reports and advocacy groups.
An activist was quickly acquitted Wednesday on charges he illegally harbored two Central American immigrants at a southern Arizona camp operated by a humanitarian group.