Arizona Reinstates Abortion Ban

Patient examination chair | Image by Catherine McQueen/Getty Images

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday to reinstate a 160-year-old law that bans abortion unless the mother’s life is in danger.

A 4-2 ruling from the state’s highest court determined that a law passed in 1864, which predates the state of Arizona itself, is “now enforceable” in its entirety. The judges’ decision hinged on the law — which was codified in 1913 and never repealed — being unimpeded by a 2022 measure passed in Arizona, allowing abortions up to 15 weeks into a pregnancy.

The majority wrote that the 2022 law was “predicated entirely on the existence of a federal constitutional right to an abortion since disclaimed” by the overturning of Roe v. Wade, per Fox News.

The 1864 law carries a near-total prohibition on abortion. It holds that anyone who “provides, supplies or administers to a pregnant woman, or procures such woman to take any medicine, drugs or substance, or uses or employs any instrument or other means whatever, with intent thereby to procure the miscarriage of such woman, unless it is necessary to save her life” may face felony charges punishable by up to five years in prison.

Abortion policy is gearing up to be a key issue in the upcoming presidential election, as suggested by recent remarks made by Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump, who said he thought the issue of abortion should be reserved for state legislatures to tackle as they see fit.

Some anti-abortion groups and individuals expressed disappointment with Trump’s stance on the issue.

“Republicans win on life when we speak the truth boldly and stand on the principle that we all know to be true – human life begins at conception and should be defended from womb to tomb,” said former Vice President Mike Pence in a post on X. “However much our Republican nominee or other candidates seek to marginalize the cause of life, I know pro-life Americans will never relent until we see the sanctity of life restored to the center of American law in every state in this country.”

Still, others like Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Arizona, seemingly echoed Trump’s position in a statement issued on Tuesday opposing the Arizona Supreme Court’s ruling.

“I understand the fear and anxiety of pregnancy, and the joy of motherhood. I wholeheartedly agree with President Trump — this is a very personal issue that should be determined by each individual state and her people,” she said, per The Hill. “I oppose today’s ruling, and I am calling on [Gov.] Katie Hobbs and the State Legislature to come up with an immediate common sense solution that Arizonans can support.”

President Joe Biden also reacted to the court’s decision to reinstate the 1864 law, which he called “an even more extreme and dangerous abortion ban.”

“Millions of Arizonans will soon live under an even more extreme and dangerous abortion ban, which fails to protect women even when their health is at risk or in tragic cases of rape or incest,” he said.

“This cruel ban was first enacted in 1864 — more than 150 years ago, before Arizona was even a state and well before women had secured the right to vote. This ruling is a result of the extreme agenda of Republican elected officials who are committed to ripping away women’s freedom,” he claimed.

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