Arizona Supreme Court Rules Near-Total Abortion Ban Can Go Into Effect

By Published on April 9, 2024

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a law from 1864 banning nearly all abortions can take effect in a landmark decision.

The law makes abortions illegal and punishable by a felony charge of up to five years in prison for anyone who either performs the procedures or helps procure one, with a limited exception to save the life of the mother. Planned Parenthood challenged the law in court, but state Supreme Court justices ordered in a 4-2 decision that the law be allowed to take effect.

“We conclude that [the law] does not create a right to, or otherwise provide independent statutory authority for, an abortion that repeals or restricts [the law], 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,” the opinion reads. “Absent the federal constitutional abortion right, and because [the law] does not independently authorize abortion, there is no provision in federal or state law prohibiting [the law’s] operation.”

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The court also ordered that the law be stayed for 14 days to allow Planned Parenthood an opportunity to determine whether or not “to pursue remaining issue remaining at the trial court” or request further relief, according to the opinion. In 2021, state lawmakers repealed a similar law that would have allowed the state to charge a woman with up to a year in prison if she had an abortion illegally, according to AZ Central, a local media outlet.

Abortion activists in Arizona are currently in the process of putting an amendment on the ballot in November to try and enshrine abortion into the state constitution.

 

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