Arizona Attorney General Says She Won’t Enforce State Supreme Court Ruling Banning Abortion

By Published on April 10, 2024

Democratic Attorney General Kristin Mayes of Arizona announced on Tuesday that she would not enforce a ruling from her state’s supreme court upholding an 1864 law that bans most abortions, according to a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

On Tuesday, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that a law criminalizing abortions, except in cases where necessary to save the mother’s life, may be enforced following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in 2022, which ruled that there is no constitutional right to an abortion. Mayes, one of the named parties in the case, subsequently issued a statement on X condemning the decision while claiming that her prosecutors would not enforce the law against doctors and women seeking abortions.

“[L]et me be completely clear, as long as I am Attorney General, no woman or doctor will be prosecuted under this draconian law in this state,” wrote Mayes. “Today’s decision to reimpose a law from a time when Arizona wasn’t a state, the Civil War was raging, and women couldn’t even vote will go down in history as a stain on our state.”

“Absent the federal constitutional abortion right…there is no provision in federal or state law prohibiting [the 1864 law]’s operation. Accordingly, [it] is now enforceable,” wrote Justice John R. Lopez, an appointee of former Republican Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona, for the court’s four-member majority. While the court’s entire bench was appointed by Republican governors, two of its members — Chief Justice Robert Brutinel and Vice Chief Justice Ann Timmer — dissented from the decision.

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Republican leaders of the Arizona House of Representatives, which is empowered to impeach officials under the state constitution, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

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