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Arizona attorney general asks state Supreme Court to reconsider abortion ruling

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes is asking the state Supreme Court to reconsider its recent ruling that put a near-total abortion ban back into effect in the state. 

In a motion for reconsideration filed Tuesday, the Attorney General's office argues portions of the state Supreme Court’s April 9 opinion in the abortion laws case were erroneous.

The Court was considering if the state should follow a newer, 15-week abortion law, or the near-total ban dating to1864.

Attorneys argue the justices leapt to conclusions about what lawmakers intended when they wrote the 15-week law in 2022. Banning abortion after 15 weeks of gestation implies abortion should be legal up to that point, the Attorney General's office argues. 

"Under a textualist approach, no further conjecture is necessary or permitted," they wrote. 

Had justices issued a ruling based on the plain language of the 15-week law, attorneys say justices would have upheld that law, not the territorial-era ban.

But even if the Supreme Court does not change its opinion in the case, attorneys argue certain sections of the opinion should be revised. 

"Among other things, the opinion would seem to encourage courts to engage in far reaching inquiries to divine legislative intent with much more frequency," they wrote. 

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Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent reporting on a variety of issues, including public health and climate change.