Arizona Supreme Court Upholds 160-Year-Old Abortion Ban

In a 4-2 decision, the Arizona Supreme Court upheld a 160-year-old abortion ban, reversing an appeals court ruling.

The decision comes as the justices were ruling on two abortion laws, one that bans abortions after 15 weeks, and an older law that bans all abortions except when the mother’s life is at risk.

The justices upheld the older law.

Under the 1864 law, anyone aiding in an abortion will receive a minimum 2-year prison sentence.

The law reads, “A person 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, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not less than two years nor more than five years.”

According to the decision, the law may be “enforced prospectively only” and is stayed for fourteen days.

“This case involves statutory interpretation — it does not rest on the justices’ morals or public policy views regarding abortion,” wrote Justice John R. Lopez IV. “We conclude that § 36-2322 does not create a right to, or otherwise provide independent statutory authority for, an abortion that repeals or restricts § 13-3603, but rather is predicated entirely on the existence of a federal constitutional right to an abortion since disclaimed by Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.”

Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs (D) previously ordered all abortion laws not to be enforced, although the state’s county attorneys may challenge the bans, AZ Central reported.

Hobbs issued a statement on the ruling, saying the decision marked a “dark day in Arizona.”

“We are just fourteen days away from one of the most extreme abortion bans in the country,” she wrote on X. “But my message to Arizona women is this: I won’t rest, and I won’t stop fighting until we have secured the right to abortion. That is my promise to you.”

The White House also condemned the ruling, calling it “dangerous.”

“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,” the statement read. “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.”

“Vice President Harris and I stand with the vast majority of Americans who support a woman’s right to choose. We will continue to fight to protect reproductive rights and call on Congress to pass a law restoring the protections of Roe v. Wade for women in every state.”

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